FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Former Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Barker died Tuesday afternoon at 86, his family members said, The Winston-Salem Journal reports.
Barker served as the Sheriff of Forsyth County from 1990 to 2002. He served 28 years at the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office with the last 12 years of his tenure as the Sheriff.
He was a graduate of Wake Forest University and a former teacher.
One of the most notable accomplishments of his tenure was the Sheriff’s Alcohol Field Enforcement (SAFE) Team.
Barker began in the department as a deputy in 1969. He was responsible for starting hundreds of community-watch programs. He made a name for himself as a homicide investigator.
Though he was demoted after losing his first bid for sheriff in 1986, he rose back through the ranks to captain before making his second run for sheriff in 1990.
Barker, a Republican, defeated Democrat Preston Oldham with the help of Robert Joyce, a Democrat.
Sheriff Bobby F. Kimbrough Jr. released a statement, saying:
“With heavy hearts, we extend our condolences to the Barker family at the loss of Sheriff Ron Barker. I personally want to thank Sheriff Barker’s family for allowing me to spend time talking with him prior to his transitioning. It is because of him, and men and women like him that have gone before us, that this agency is what it is today. We are grateful for the dedication and service of Sheriff Barker. On behalf of the entire Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office family, we send peace to his family and to our community during this time of mourning.”