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County's jail director earns national honors

Chris Sharp, director of the Chelan County Regional Justice Center, was honored in June by the National Institute for Jail Operations (NIJO) with the Dedication to Excellence Award.

Sharp, who has been with the county 24 years, was appointed by the board of County Commissioners to director in April 2020. He has been a featured speaker at the national corrections conference JailCon, a program of NIJO that offers exclusive training for correctional command staff across the country.

Sharp received the award on June 12 in Chandler, Ariz., at the JailCon West Conference awards ceremony.

In the few years Sharp has been director, he has made huge changes toward the improvement and safety of the Chelan County jail. His focus is on the safety of the inmates and staff, according to the NIJO.

Among the programs and decisions Sharp has implemented is a drug interdiction program, which includes a full-body scanner, a mail scanner and a narcotics-detecting canine. Sharp also recently spearheaded the effort to install 12 medical sensors in individual holding cells that monitor breathing and heart rates, alerting staff to sudden fluctuations. He has also increased nursing staff to provide around-the-clock coverage and has advocated for the health and well-being of the people and the population for whom he is responsible.

“Director Sharp and his medical team, are one of the first in the state to implement this type of medical monitoring,” a press release from NIJO states. “He is dedicated to reducing the risk of harm for the inmate population.”

Billye Tollackson, the jail's health care manager and a longtime colleague of Sharp’s, said the director is dedicated and determined to provide a safe jail for the incarcerated.

“He has consistently demonstrated a sincere concern for the safety of his staff and volunteers who work in this facility,” Tollackson said. “He gives 100 percent daily in his job. He worked his way up from a corrections deputy to the director of this facility. This job matters to him, and he has a personal goal of doing the best he can every day.”

Sharp said he was humbled and honored to receive the award.

“We have an awesome team of correctional deputies and medical, mental health and support staff that make everything we strive to do a success,” he said. “Without the team there is no leader.”

Last Updated: 07/10/2024 10:03 AM

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