October 26, 2020
| Updated: October 27, 2020
Name: Sergeant Ira Carter
Department: Dallas Police Department (DPD)
Total Years of Service: 24 years 18 with DPD
Sergeant Ira Carter has known for a while that he needed to seek a career path that included service to others. “I always wanted to play sports and protect and serve. I wanted to give back to the community and show the community that there were any African American officers. Even though there’s a stigma about the job, we too can do it and do it well too. If you don’t have representation sometimes stories can be told in different ways,” Ira said. About five years later, Ira decided to move to Dallas and join their police force.
Ira grew up in a small, racially divided town in Mississippi. “It was a big change going from a small town with racial tension to Dallas, a bigger town. Going from a department of 50 to 3,000. You can kind of predict what’s going on in a small town. There was a big learning curve,” he said. Ira was definitely up for the challenge of learning the new landscape though. He said, “It’s just the type of person I am; failure is not an option. It probably took me about three years to understand the geographical area of the big city and personality changes.”
Before Ira moved he had four beautiful children, and after he moved to Dallas and remarried, he gained four more. Ira says, “The way I was raised I don’t call kids ‘step’. I still call them mine.”
Sergeant Ira Carter currently works in management of the Dallas motorcycle unit. He started off in patrol and has worked in various departments like operation disruption, neighborhood patrol, and as a detective before managing the motorcycle unit. “Every position gave me something to learn. Neighborhood patrol gave me an inside perspective on the things neighbors want to see in the police. I was able to educate some of the people in the neighborhood on police work too. Those who care about the neighborhoods keep the crime out and help the police solve crimes,” he emphasized.
“As an African American officer, I’ve been treated the same as any African American person in the US. By doing the job, I understand how to get what I need when in difficult situations. Many people don’t know that they can call for a supervisor or report situations. Sometimes I am looked at negatively by my own race, sometimes it is by other races. Sometimes I am stopped by police and treated adversely; but when they figure out I am a police officer things change. I shouldn’t have to tell them I am a cop just to be treated fairly when I get pulled over. I’ve been stopped and stereotyped. I’ve been pulled over because I am a black guy driving a nice vehicle... You still get stereotyped. You’d think that people would treat people like people but it doesn’t happen,” Ira explained.
“I look at it like this, I’ve been with DPD for close to 20 years. I think what we (DPD) have tried to do is understand where our community stands. A lot of people who work for the department acknowledge that change is needed. We have done things over the years, especially in Black and Brown neighborhoods, to bridge the gap that exists. Nationally though, it seems like every time we take a step forward we take a step back.
There are people in Black and Brown neighborhoods that say, ‘thank you for what you do’. The officers who are doing good work need to keep everyone else accountable... It is a tough job and it gets tougher by the day. I was very vocal during the protests on social media. Protesting is fine but eventually, you have to implement changes. I still meet with guys who are trying to evoke positive change. We are trying to come to common ground and agree to disagree to see how we can progress forward,” Ira said.
Ira teaches classes on, “everything racial” in the department. “Normally I teach for the police departments. When COVID is over I will put on a class for non-law enforcement,” he said.
Ira learned about the Law Enforcement Torch Run group (LETR) through Miss Deborah Joe, a tenured LETR veteran. “Tip A Cop was the first event I participated in. It was great able to wait tables and raise money for a great cause. You are not a cop that day, you are just using your uniform to raise money for Special Olympics athletes. I’ve participated in events with Dunkin Donuts. I ran the torch up to the stadium for the Summer Games in Arlington three or four times. DPD had a local run from headquarters to SMU campus too, it was about seven miles. I love being able to bring awareness to things people don’t know about. I like all of the events! My favorite is being able to help,” he said.
Ira also runs a youth program in his community that includes kids with special needs. “They have a tough life. You have to account for their life experiences and include them. When you’re born with an intellectual disability it does not mean that you have to be looked at abnormally,” he said.
To our beloved athletes:
Make sure you take care of yourself and follow the rules and guidelines for COVID. This too shall pass. Don’t allow COVID to get you to a point where you think there’s nothing left. -Sergeant Ira Carter
Special thanks to Ira Carter and the Dallas Police Department for their continued support of SOTX and LETR!