Three candidates are on the Democratic primary ballot for the Mecklenburg County sheriff’s race. Incumbent Irwin Carmichael faces Antoine M. Ensley and Garry L. McFadden. There are no Republican candidates on the November ballot.

Each candidate who will appear on the primary ballot had the opportunity to answer a few questions in their own words that have not been edited. Here’s what they had to say:

Irwin Carmichael

Age: 53

City of residency: 28214

Education: Associate Degree

Employment: Sheriff of Mecklenburg County



Herald Citizen: What qualifies you for this position?

Irwin Carmichael: What qualifies me for the position of Sheriff is that I have worked for the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office since 1986 and have served in the capacity as the elected Sheriff for the past four years.
I know this organization and its people. I possess the experience and expertise to continue moving the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office in the right direction. During my first term as Sheriff, I was able to save tax payer dollars by making necessary cuts in expenditures to gain operational efficiencies. I have been an accessible and working Sheriff that has truly been committed to the service of this wonderful community.
My office has been more visible and engaged with very targeted community engagement strategies. Our jail facilities are fully accredited through the American Correctional Association (ACA) and received some of highest scores during our recent reaccreditation and officials commented that our detention operation was one of the nation’s best.

HC: What are some things you hope to change in Mecklenburg County?

IC: My office will continue to serve this community in a professional manner and will continue with the work being done to promote positive changes in our criminal justice system.
A major change that I will continue to advocate for is the creation of more mental health services in Mecklenburg County. My office has seen a continued increase in the amount of involuntary commitment orders where respondents are picked up by law enforcement and taken to a mental health facility for an evaluation or treatment. My detention staff have received additional training and we recently certified a group of detention professionals through ACA with a Behavioral Health Certification.
The Sheriff’s Office is continuing to do its part in the battle against the opioid crisis; my deputies carry narcan and protective kits in their patrol vehicles and have been credited with saving a person who overdosed. I would like to see a positive change in hopes of ending opioid abuse in our community.
As Sheriff of the largest Sheriff’s Office in the State, it is critical you have a knowledge of the duties the Sheriff’s Office performs. The Sheriff’s primary responsibility is to manage the detention facilities, secure the courts, service of civil process, registering sex offenders and issuance of purchase and concealed carry permits. As the current Sheriff, I have the requisite experience to manage the Sheriff’s Office with almost 1,200 employees and a $120 million budget.

Antoine M. Ensley Sr.

Age: 48

Education: MBA-Organization Leadership

Employment: Currently serve as a Human Resources Administrator with the City of Charlotte.

Web Site:

Herald Citizen: What qualifies you for this position?

Antoine M Ensley: My leadership, management and administrative career spans more than twenty years which includes public sector and private sector. I have led people, system and resources for small and large governments. I bring tried and tested leadership specifically as a Chief of Police, Superintendent of Juvenile Justice and current as a HR Administrator for a large government. I graduated from advanced specialized schools such as FBI National Academy, UNC Chapel Hill School of Government. I have worked with national organizations on successful criminal justice/juvenile justice reform strategies for a local government.


HC: What are some things you hope to change in Mecklenburg County?

AE: Some of my vision and goals include the following:
1. Improve human conditions of those in our local detention system with a focus on adding regular licensed clinical social workers to the team.
2. Returning a more structured system of in person visitation for citizens in confinement.
3. Improve employee relations by championing a culture of inclusiveness and free thinking so that employees of the Sheriff are not fearful of job loss for being critical of needs within the Sheriff Office.
4. Build a framework of public and private training programs for those transitioning back to the community to build a best model for preparedness for future jobs in this global market.
5.Work collaboratively with community to build the juvenile community crime control initiative with a focus on establishing the Sheriff footprint on smart and progressive strategies to improve outcomes for youths in the community.
6. Dismantle poor policies of previous administrations that work against families.


HC: Anything else you would like readers to know.

AE: I am progressive in my thinking about problem solving. I believe I bring the experience and leadership that is needed at a time such as this in Mecklenburg County. There has been no other candidate for Sheriff in our history with such a broad background of relevant experience. I plan to lead as Sheriff for the County by focusing on broad issues that may impact public safety and social inequities directly or indirectly. This is my third effort to lead as Sheriff running in 2010 and 2014. I have never given up on the idea of Mecklenburg County being a progressive place to improve the lives of all people and position our community to be smart about our public safety future.


Garry L. McFadden is also on the Democratic primary ballot for the sheriff’s office. He did not respond to the Herald Citizen after repeated attempts. His campaign website, listed on the Mecklenburg County Board of Election website, is


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