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The Nash County Sheriff's Office has promoted its first woman to the rank of major in the agency's history.
Miste Strickland, who has been with the sheriff's office since 1997, is also the first member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina to earn the rank of major. Strickland bested four other internal candidates during an assessment process consisting of the oral board, in-box exercise, civilian education, time in service, and honorable discharge based on active, reserve, or National Guard service to earn the promotion Monday at Nash Community College.
"I am excited for the new challenge and look forward to working with Sheriff Keith Stone, the command staff, our employees and the community to take the Nash County Sheriff's Office to the next level in policing," Strickland said in a news release. "We cannot do this job alone. It is the responsibility of each citizen to help keep Nash County safe and with strong community relationships; we will continue to build upon serving our citizens with honor, diligence and compassion."
Strickland began her career as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, serving from 1987-97. In her more than 20 years with the sheriff's office, Strickland has served as a narcotics investigator, deputy, school resource officer at Southern Nash Middle School and Southern Nash High School, juvenile investigator, major case investigator, patrol sergeant, patrol lieutenant and investigative lieutenant.
Strickland's education includes a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice with a minor in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and master of arts degree in psychology from University of Phoenix. She currently is scheduled to complete a master's degree in criminal justice from the University of Louisville in 2019, having already completed the 138th Administrative Officers Course Police Executive Leadership Graduate Program via Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville, where she served as class secretary. Strickland currently serves as the national secretary for the Southern Police Institute Alumni Association.
She has received numerous awards and commendations over the years, including the N.C. Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate, the North Carolina Advanced Service Award, the American Legion state, district and national-level Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award in 2013 and the 2016 Hero Award from Bailey's Jewelry Store.
In addition to her service with the sheriff's office, Strickland volunteers with several community organizations. She previously served as secretary for the Warren "Sneak" Lewis Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation. She is an active member of the American Legion Post 110 in Nashville and Stony Hill Free Will Baptist Church.
She regularly volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House and at various community events such as Meals on Wheels, the Nash County Sheriff's Christmas and My Sister's House fundraisers. She also collects hotel toiletries for the homeless and elderly population.