Carter played football in grade school. He graduated from Jess Lanier High School in 1977 and later earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Columbus Southern University. He began his career with the Graysville Police Department in 1986 and transferred to Bessemer in 1989. He and partner Archie Arrington both had very large builds and were referred to as the "Twin Towers" when they worked the streets. Their size, calm demeanor, and knowledge of the community made it possible for them to defuse almost any situation without violence. Once he was promoted into an administrative role he was recognized for his organizational abilities. He took charge of regulatory compliance, helped the department obtain grants for equipment and programs, served as liaison to the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, and organized the 2015 Alabama Fraternal Order of Police Conference at the Bessemer Civic Center.
Carter also worked traffic details at Jonesboro Elementary School and for Jess Lanier football games. He also provided security for a methadone clinic and was working toward a doctorate in addiction counseling. He died after suffering a heart attack while running at Lawson State Community College, a day before his 56th birthday. He was survived by his wife, Barbara, and two children, Curtis and Amber. He is buried at Highland Memorial Gardens.