Since taking office in December of 2018, Sheriff McFadden has been busy and implemented several key initiatives to progressively move the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office into a new direction aimed towards building law enforcement and community relationships, restoring the humanity in the midst of confinement and criminal justice reform. Highlighted are some of Sheriff McFadden’s accomplishments in his tenure as Sheriff, with more to come:
- Ended MCSO’s participation in the 287g Program with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE): Charlotte has a growing immigrant population that had a very fragile relationship with law enforcement, ended MCSO’s participation in the 287g Program has helped to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.
- Held the first every career fair for residents in a Detention Center: Finding gainful employment for offenders has been shown to reduce recidivism. Giving residents returning to our community an opportunity to have meaningful employment decreases crime and make our community
- Established a Family Contact Visitation Area: Providing residents with a venue to maintain personal interactions with their families helps to reduce the emotional and mental stress associated with being confined and causes better behavior amongst our resident population.
- Reinstituted Face-to-Face Visitation: Maintaining personal interactions with friends and family during confinement is critically important to the welfare of the resident. We find that residents exhibit much better behavior when allowed to have face-to-face visits.
- Ended Solitary Confinement for Youthful Offenders:The effects of solitary confinement are well documented. Solitary confinement practices were ended at our Detention Center North and other alternatives were implemented to correct negative behavior and an emphasis has been placed on education and development for our younger population.
- Created a Community Engagement Team: A dedicated team of detention officers and deputy sheriffs that provide outreach, educational opportunities, and support to the community. This is one of Sheriff McFadden’s most important initiatives since he has taken office and community is his passion.
- Camp Cradle:It had been over nineteen years since the youthful offender residents had been able to recreate outside. Camp Cradle was created as an outdoor summer recreation program that gives our young residents an opportunity to engage in various recreational activities outside of the detention center
- Barber School: The first ever barber school was opened inside of a detention center in the state of North Carolina. The barber school gives residents an opportunity to learn a marketable skill that can help them obtain employment post custody.
- Digital Literacy Program: MCSO partnered with Digital Charlotte, Queens University and Charlotte Works to create this program. Residents learn how create resumes, search for jobs, pay bills, and do online banking. Upon completion of the program, residents are given a computer to take home once they’re released from custody.
- Behavioral Health Unit: Mecklenburg County Detention Centers have seen a steady increase in the number of detainees suffering from mental health issues. MCSO in partnership with our health services provider now offers those in our custody better options for addressing their mental illness. A Behavioral Health Unit is one of the first of its kind in a local confinement facility. Specially trained and certified officers along with mental health professionals work inside this unit to provide cognitive therapy and mental health services for residents.
- Accelerated Culinary School: MCSO partnered with Central Piedmont Community College to develop a culinary school within Detention Center Central. This program allowed residents to develop a unique skill set they can use once released from our custody to gain employment in Charlotte’s growing restaurant industry.
- You Can Vote Initiative: MCSO partnered with the group “You Can Vote” to educate and assist pre-trial detainees and residents serving misdemeanor sentences with the opportunity to register to vote.
- LBGTQIA Committee: The LBGTQIA Committee was formed at the request of MCSO employees. The committee is instrumental in working within the agency and community to promote education and awareness around LBGTQIA issues and concerns. Sheriff McFadden believes in inclusion and acceptance of others regardless of how they identify.
- Dignitary Protection Unit: The Dignitary Protection Unit is a specialized group of deputy sheriffs assembled for the protection of dignitaries visiting Charlotte and the surrounding areas. The unit went through a dynamic, 100% scenario-based training course on professional protection. Training included tactical driving, improvised weapons, identifying improvised explosive devices, counter assault team operations.
- Courthouse Active Shooter Exercise: MCSO conducted a full-scale scenario based active shooter exercise in the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. The exercise was an eye-opening experience for the non-law enforcement employees that work in the courthouse. Unlike tabletop exercises, people were able to experience the sound of gun fire and alarms; the realism created a great opportunity to all parties involved to learn how to respond and effectively manage a real active shooter emergency.