Candidates vying to be the new Meck sheriff

Republican Chris Hailey and Democrat Irwin Carmichael are vying to be Mecklenburg Sheriff after Chipp Bailey opted to not seek re-election. In Mecklenburg, the sheriff oversees a $118 million budget, runs the jail, oversees security at the courthouse and serves court papers.

Carmichael, 50, has been a volunteer reserve with the department since 1986 and has reached the rank of captain. He’s a ninth-degree black belt in Shorinji Kempo, and the martial arts institute he owns was contracted to train deputies.

He’s also taken special assignments transporting the county’s most dangerous criminals.

Carmichael said the Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Office works fine and that he would lean on the experience of Bailey’s executive staff. He also wants to have quarterly town hall meetings, part of an effort to make the office more visible. He’s been endorsed by former sheriffs Bailey and Jim Pendergraph.

Hailey 51, has been a police officer in Raleigh and served as an N.C. Highway Patrol trooper stationed in Mecklenburg and as a training coordinator. He recently retired as the head of public safety instruction at Central Piedmont Community College and touts 28 years of law enforcement experience. He’s been endorsed by Mecklenburg’s black political caucus.

Hailey wants to de-centralize Mecklenburg’s jail, opening up satellite offices in northern and southern parts of the county so officers don’t have to drive far to book people who have been arrested.