Local News: Asheville and Hendersonville

Henderson County jail administrator recognized with innovations award

Capt. Neal Urch, left, of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office was recently recognized for “Jail Innovations of the Year.”

At the 2018 North Carolina Jail Administrators’ Association Conference, Captain Neal Urch of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office was recognized for Jail Innovations of the Year. This award recognizes a detention professional who has created a new and innovative program that has significantly improved the facility’s operation.

“Captain Neal Urch came to our agency as a proven Jail Administrator with a reputation for thinking out of the box, challenging established but ineffective paradigms, and blending accountability with support and encouragement from his jail team,” said Sheriff Charles McDonald. “His blend of leadership accountability with compassion and common sense, has resulted in a much improved and safer jail.”

Captain Urch joined the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office Detention Facility in April 2017. He brought with him 35 years of law enforcement experience with his most recent position being Jail Administrator of the Spartanburg County Detention Facility in South Carolina.

During his tenure in Spartanburg, Urch was very successful in establishing a Behavioral Management Unit and Special Operations Group inside the facility. In addition, he created many community partnerships in developing opportunities for inmates while incarcerated to better themselves as they prepared to be reintegrated back into the community. His efforts were recognized in Spartanburg County and he is applying many of those same successful strategies here in Henderson County.

In only a year and a half, Captain Neal Urch has made great strides and innovations in the Henderson County Jail. The Behavioral Management Unit holds inmates accountable for their actions while ensuring they are treated in a firm, fair and consistent manner. The Special Operations Group created in the facility has equipped personnel with additional training and increases officer and inmate safety within the facility.

Captain Urch has taken the stance of viewing the detention facility as a ‘community’ within Henderson County. He has created various partnerships with Blue Ridge Community College, Family Preservation Services, Henderson County Literacy Council and other organizations to provide services and opportunities for inmates to better themselves to be a contributing member of the bigger community.

The awards banquet for the NC Jail Administrators’ Association was held on September 26, 2018 in Greensboro, NC. Captain Urch was sick and unable to attend the ceremony; the award was accepted on his behalf by Lieutenant Tim Fuss. During a staff meeting on October 9, 2018, Sheriff Charles McDonald revealed to Urch that he had been nominated by his peers and awarded with this prestigious award.

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