Detention center officer assaults have risen sharply, Mecklenburg sheriff says

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CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Assaults on Mecklenburg County detention officers have spiked during the pandemic.

Fox 46 sat down with Sheriff Garry McFadden about the recent violence and he tells us he’s urging families to reach out to loved ones in jail to help ease the tension.

“We’re asking them to have those conversations with their family member about safety and conflict inside our detention center and urging them to help de-escalate any violence,” said Sheriff McFadden.

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Jail records show assaults on detention officers have risen dramatically in the Covid period, from 13 assaults in 2019 to 21 in 2020 to 68 in just the first half of 2021.

“Imagine not being able to see your family members for 18 months.  They’re uncertain about their court dates, lots of stress going on at home, and a lot of stress going inside the facility.”

Sheriff McFadden says he’s also working with his officers on de-escalation techniques.

“So, to make it clear we’re not asking the families to do all the work, we have a lot of work to do ourselves in dealing with our staff.”

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