Sheriff's Welcome Message

Mecklenburg County is the largest and most populous county in the state of North Carolina and home to the nation’s seventeenth largest metropolitan city of Charlotte. Mecklenburg County encompasses 546 square miles and has six townships.

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office is the largest Sheriff’s Office in both North and South Carolina with close to 1100 employees. The Mecklenburg County Detention Center network is also the largest municipal detention system in the state of North Carolina.

The women and men of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office are dedicated professionals committed to providing our citizens with the highest degree of service. I am honored to lead this organization into a new era where we are nationally recognized and serve as a model of how a Sheriff’s Office serves its community.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Garry L. McFadden
45th Sheriff of Mecklenburg County

Sheriff’s Biography

Sheriff Garry L. McFadden was elected to serve as the 45th Sheriff of Mecklenburg County and was sworn into office on December 4, 2018. Prior to being elected as Sheriff, Garry had a distinguished 36 year law enforcement career with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department where he served for over 20 years as a legendary homicide detective.

Garry’s unconventional methods and deep ties to the community helped him to solve hundreds of murders over the course of his illustrious career. As a detective, Garry had one of the highest solve rates in police department history which lead to him starring in his own television series, “I Am Homicide.” The series highlights some of Garry’s biggest cases and how the perpetrators were caught. Sheriff McFadden can still be seen on television in the series “Homicide City” on the Investigation Discovery (ID) network.

Sheriff McFadden is originally from Sumter, South Carolina but affectionally calls Elliott S.C. home – also home to his beloved high school Mt Pleasant High “Striking Rattlers” and came to Charlotte in 1977 to attend Johnson C. Smith University of which he is a proud alumnus. Since the start of his career Garry has been an advocate for change and committed to building bridges and breaking down barriers between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Garry’s record of community service is well documented, and he has received numerous awards for his long standing and continuous work in Mecklenburg County communities with various organizations such as, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, NAACP, NBA Legends, MoMo – Mother of Murdered Offspring, Cops & Barbers, Beauty After The Bars, Charlotte Black Mental Health, The Sons of The American Revolution; along being honored as Charlotte’s Citizen of The Year 2015 just to name a few. In 2015, Garry was recognized by President Barack Obama for his work on the 21st Century Policing Initiative and his involvement in the development of an outstanding community program titled “Cops and Barbers.”
Garry is a husband, father of three adult children and a proud grandfather. Sheriff McFadden is approaching his fortieth year in law enforcement and is still committed to influencing change by being “the difference.”


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.
  • 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.

  • 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.

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