4 Candidates for Mecklenburg Co. Sheriff
CHARLOTTE, NC -- More than 8,000 people in Charlotte-Mecklenburg have cast their ballots early for next week's primary. One of the races getting attention is the one for Mecklenburg County Sheriff. We spoke to all four candidates to find out what they plan to do if elected.
Two democrats. Two republicans. Four men wanting to be Mecklenburg County's top law enforcement officer.
Democrat Irwin Carmichael is a retired firefighter, and now a reserve captain with the sheriff's office. He sees progress in the department and wants to keep that going.
"We are under 1,800 inmates on a daily basis in our inmate population. Where you know several years ago we were right at 3,000," says Carmichael. "So we've been able to reduce the inmate population to under 1,800 in just several years."
Democrat Antoine Ensley has worked for CMPD, been a police chief in Henderson County and spent time in the private sector. He wants to see a different sheriff's office, one that reaches out to Charlotte's youth.
"We have to be smart on public safety. And being smart on public safety means that the sheriff can no longer just run jails," says Ensley. "We have to build programs that are very much about being intentional about how do we save families and children in the community."
Republican Chris Hailey is the director of public safety at Central Piedmont Community College. He's been a police officer, and spent time with the highway patrol. Hailey would decentralize the sheriff's office, keeping deputies in the communities they serve.
"It takes anywhere from 3-4 hours to process someone, and that puts a strain not only on the officer, but on the department as a whole because now someone has to cover my area as well as the area they are assigned to," says Hailey. "So it makes your neighborhood even more vulnerable."
Republican Louis Rango Jr. is a CMPD officer, and 21-year law enforcement veteran. He's another candidate who sees our kids as the key to the future.
"I think later on in life we won't have that big of a problem. I'm not going to curb all the crime, and I'm not going to stop the career criminal," says Rango. "But we can stop a few juveniles from getting in trouble when they're older."
Early voting continues through saturday at the Hal Marshall Annex and a dozen other locations.