Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey is a 36-year veteran of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and has served as sheriff since January 4, 2021. During her tenure as sheriff, she has advanced the professionalism of the department, ensured fiscal responsibility, improved the infrastructure of the Justice Center, increased efficiencies through improved technology, and has focused on training opportunities and wellness programs for the staff. These priorities have resulted in improved safety for staff and the community, adherence to best practices in policies and procedures, and a reduction in excessive use of force incidents.
Prior to being elected sheriff, she served as the major and former commander of Jail and Court Services with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. Having been appointed to the rank of major in 2013, Major McGuffey 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, 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 also 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 her 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 36-year career with the Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff 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, 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 position as commander of Jail and Court Services, Sheriff McGuffey spearheaded justice reform initiatives in the jail. During that time, she formed a committee that collaborated with social service agencies throughout Hamilton County to allow targeted engagement with those who are incarcerated. She created a Veteran’s program 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.
Sheriff McGuffey understands that progressive jail policy reform, with a focus on rehabilitative, rather than punitive strategies, results in lower recidivism and overall healthier communities. She knows that 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 do better, and she continues to provide the leadership to do just that.
Charmaine is a graduate of Leadership Cincinnati, Class 39 and in 2023, was named a YWCA of Greater Cincinnati Career Woman of Achievement. Charmaine is married to Christine Sandusky and they reside in Cincinnati with their two dogs.
Experience in the Sheriff’s Office
- Hamilton County Sheriff, 2021 to present
- Hamilton County Sheriff Major and Commander of Jail and Court Services, 2013 – 2017
- Hamilton County Sheriff Electronic Monitoring Unit, 2010 – 2012
- Hamilton County Sheriff Captain, 1996- 2009
- Hamilton County Sheriff Lieutenant, 1988 – 1995
- Hamilton County Sheriff Sergeant, 1985 -1987
- Hamilton County Sheriff Jail Service Officer, 1983- 1985
Expertise in/and Instructor for:
- Leadership for Results
- Crisis Intervention Skills
- Specialized Negotiation Skills
- Use of force
- Advanced Hostage Negotiations
- Sexual harassment/sexual abuse in correctional facilities
- Defensive Tactics/Close Quarter Confrontation
- Basic Peace Officer Certification
- Basic Academy Instructor Training
- Fitness Specialist Certification from the Cooper Institute of Fitness
- Self defense
- Training for trainers
- Developed lesson plans for the Ohio Peace Office Training Academy
- Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati
- Voted in the top 3 as Best Local Elected Official by City Beat’s Best of Cincinnati 2023
- YWCA of Greater Cincinnati Career Woman of Achievement Award 2023
- Featured in Cincinnati Magazine’s Our Future is Women edition 2022
- Featured in Cincinnati Business Courier “Women Who Mean Business” 2021
- City of Cincinnati Resolution Award for work as the Commander of Jail and Court Services in 2017
- Ohio Chapter of the National Social Workers Citizen of the Year 2016
- Regional Law Enforcement Officer of the Year 2014
- Member, Human Rights Campaign
- Leadership Cincinnati Class of 39
- Former member of the Ohio Jail Administration Board
- Former board member, Cincinnati Union Bethel
- Former board member, Cincinnati Woman’s Club