Blog | March 27, 2024

Sheriff Stacey Ann Kincaid Takes the Lead on Innovative and Inclusive Initiatives

In Fairfax County, Virginia, about 12 miles from the nation’s capital, Sheriff Stacey Ann Kincaid is working to be an agent of change, leading with initiatives to improve the diversity and capacity of her office and to innovate their approach to serving the Fairfax community.

After graduating from Frostburg State University with a degree in political science and criminal justice, Sheriff Kincaid began her career as a Deputy Sheriff with the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office and has been with the agency for 36 years. Sheriff Kincaid rose to the rank of Captain before being elected Sheriff in 2013. She is the first woman sheriff since the agency was formed 281 years ago.

Sheriff Kincaid’s exemplary work has been formally recognized both by her office and by organizations in her community. In 2008, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Sheriff’s Office, which is the highest honor in her agency. In 2014, just one year after being elected Sheriff, she was awarded the Influential Women of Virginia award from Virginia Lawyers Weekly. And in 2017, Sheriff Kincaid received the Woman of Vision award from the Junior League of Northern Virginia.

Sheriff Stacey Ann Kincaid Headshot 032724

Sheriff Kincaid’s work with Fairfax County is dedicated to promoting “the human side of law enforcement officers and their commitment to serving the community.” She and her staff begin this work with young children, setting up events to read with them in libraries and schools. “It is truly magical to see their eyes light up with this interaction,” she said. She also meets with local Brownie, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts groups to help foster their interest in community service. She “swears in” young children as junior deputies, who take oaths to be kind, respectful, and responsible. The agency also runs Shop with the Sheriff, an annual event wherein Sheriff Kincaid and her staff take children who are living in homeless shelters out for a day of fun activities, a pizza party, and a back-to-school clothing shopping spree. They also provide the children with backpacks and supplies they’ll need to begin the school year. “Ensuring children are prepared for the upcoming school year is essential for their self-confidence and success,” the Sheriff said. “Children should grow up learning that law enforcement is not to be feared. We are regular people who are here to help them.”

Sheriff Kincaid’s dedication to her community does not stop with supporting children. Her office also offers internships for college students to learn about careers in law enforcement, similar to the internship that began Sheriff Kincaid’s career over 30 years ago. “It is tremendously gratifying when, after they successfully complete the internship, they choose the same route that I did and apply to become a Deputy Sheriff,” she said. The Sheriff has also spearheaded Diversion First, a program that offers alternatives to incarceration for adults with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders who come into contact with the criminal justice system for low-level offenses. In addition to Diversion First, Sheriff Kincaid created the jail-based Striving to Achieve Recovery and Medication for Addiction Treatment programs, designed to assist individuals with substance use disorders. “By identifying and treating addiction as a chronic health issue, I am hoping to make our community healthier and safer for everyone,” Sheriff Kincaid explained. Her work in addiction treatment and recovery earned her and her office national recognition from the National Association of Counties in 2023.

Sheriff Kincaid has worked diligently and successfully to improve the lives of all those in her community, but she has faced her share of challenges, too. “I learned that there is a separate set of standards and expectations for women in a male-dominated field,” she explained. “People look at a woman’s clothing; they judge her hair and makeup; they watch how she carries herself. Then they decide if those types of things reflect whether she can do the job she is pursuing rather than examine her achievements, her innovative ideas, and her intellect.” And Sheriff Kincaid is working to ensure that women—and people of color—are more highly represented in her office. “I want to enhance staff diversity to better reflect the people my agency serves,” she said.

Sheriff Kincaid has led a decorated career, and she continues to strive towards making her community happy, healthy, and successful. “Greater investments in children and their families would ensure that we are addressing homelessness, food insecurity, language and cultural barriers, and all forms of discrimination.”

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