Sergeant Michell Carter, recently promoted to Second Lieutenant, will transfer from Court Services to a confinement squad in the Adult Detention Center.
When 2nd Lt. Carter was a student at the University of Maryland – College Park, she had an internship dealing with girls in the criminal justice system. That internship led to her first job after graduation, working with girls on probation. Every Friday, she went to court as an advocate for probation violators. In one case, a girl had stolen a car and gone joy riding. The following Monday, three days after her court appearance, she stole another car, crashed it and died. Needing a change, Carter took a job helping families with children who had mental health issues.
What brought her to Fairfax County? “A police lieutenant told me the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office was hiring and had a great reputation. Although my goal had been to stay in Maryland, I followed his recommendation, and the agency hired me as a deputy sheriff! That was 22 years ago, and I am still happy to be here.”
While employed with the Sheriff’s Office, she earned her master’s degree in business administration from the Johns Hopkins University. Although she does not plan to retire from the Sheriff’s Office anytime soon, she does think about what she will do when she leaves. “I want to stay connected to law enforcement but from a different perspective. I hope to use my graduate degree and trade my deputy sheriff uniform for business attire,” she says with a smile.
Carter says she hit a stumbling point in her career several years ago and worked her way back up from it. “My favorite word is resilient,” she says. “I was given a second chance for which I am very grateful.”
Carter talks about another event that affected her way of thinking. “After my mom had a stroke and became disabled, I learned what it means to be empathetic. It is ok to have feelings, to be emotional. I learned that I could get a better response from people when I am more understanding.”