Charmaine McGuffey is a retired Major and former Commander of Jail and Court Services with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. Charmaine McGuffey was appointed to the rank of Major in 2013 and oversaw the third largest jail in the state of Ohio. Within a two-year period, Major McGuffey led the effort to improve the Hamilton County Justice Center from its ranking as worst in the state to the best of the large jails in Ohio. During her tenure as Commander of Jail and Court services, Charmaine McGuffey was named local and regional “Law Enforcement Officer of the Year”, and was honored by the Ohio House of Representatives for being named the 2016 Public Citizen of the Year by the Ohio Chapter of NASW. She was included in the 2013 Cincinnati Enquirer’s list of “Professional Women to Watch”.
Charmaine was born and raised in Cincinnati, growing up in Price Hill where their mother raised her and her two sisters. Growing up with a single mother who worked long hours to support her family taught Charmaine both the value of hard work and the difference community support can make in someone’s life. By the time Charmaine was 14, she knew she wanted to be a Police Officer. She graduated from Western Hills High School and started the Criminal Justice program at the University of Cincinnati, even though at that time, women were not allowed to be uniformed patrol officers. Fortunately, that changed by the time Charmaine graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and she joined the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office in 1983.
Throughout her 33-year career with the Sheriff’s Office, Major McGuffey worked in several different capacities. Starting as a jail service deputy, then rising through the ranks to Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain of the Training Academy, and eventually achieving the rank of Major, in command of Jail and Court Services. In addition, Major McGuffey served as the lead hostage negotiator for the Sheriff’s Special Response Team, and the Captain of the Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard. She served as the Academy Commander for the Ohio Peace Officer Corrections Academy, and is an accomplished self-defense instructor.
In her most recent position as Commander of Jail and Court Services, Major McGuffey spearheaded justice reform initiatives in the jail. She formed a committee that collaborated with social service agencies throughout Hamilton County to allow targeted engagement with those who are incarcerated and created a Veteran’s pod in order to bring services and treatment to the veterans who have served our country. She also initiated a specialized pod, in partnership with Hamilton County Re-Entry, to provide life skills for incarcerated men who are nearing their release date, and created a recovery pod with a focus on treatment and community services for heroin addicted women.
As the Commander of the Jail, Major McGuffey understood that progressive jail policy reform, with a focus on rehabilitative, rather than punitive strategies, results in lower recidivism and overall healthier communities. She knows jail reform is needed and that people who are incarcerated should be offered opportunities and services during incarceration that increase their chances of success upon release. She knows that, within our criminal justice system, we can we can do better and will continue to provide the leadership to do just that.
Charmaine serves on the Board of Directors for Cincinnati Union Bethel and The Women’s City Club and is a graduate of Leadership Cincinnati, Class 39. Charmaine is married to Christine Sandusky and they reside in downtown Cincinnati with their two dogs.