Meet Maria Jocys

Candidate for Durham County Sheriff

Maria Jocys was born in Hudson, NY and at the age of four moved to Durham. She attended Southern High School and it was during her junior year that she had her first job at Pope’s Family Dollar Store in Wellons Village. After high school, Maria attended East Carolina University (Go Pirates! Arrgh!) and earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. During her last semester, Maria completed an internship with the Durham Police Department. Maria dreamed of coming home to Durham to serve as a police officer after college. As luck would have it, Durham was not hiring rookie officers when she graduated in 1989, so Maria took a position with the Greenville Police Department. She served eight years with Greenville, rising to the rank of Detective.

During her 24-year career with the FBI, Maria joined the leadership ranks when she was promoted to FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. She led FBI efforts to keep America safe following the 9/11 attacks and marshaled FBI teams overseas, following terrorist attacks on US citizens in multiple foreign countries. In 2007, Maria returned to the Durham area and became the first woman in charge of an FBI post in the state of North Carolina, when she was named the Senior Supervisory Resident Agent of the Raleigh FBI office. This was a massive territory covering 13 counties, including Durham. 

For the past three years, Maria dedicated her efforts to partnering with the Durham County Sheriff’s Office and Durham Police Department on gang-related violence and gun crimes. Her efforts include federally charging and convicting Durham gang members who robbed and terrorized Asian and Middle Eastern business owners in armed home invasions. In 2020, she charged the first ever Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering gang enterprise case in Durham for the gang-related murder of a child.                        

Maria’s work brought her directly in touch with those affected by gang violence, including the offenders and their families. She met with mothers who lost children. She worked with victims who would not cooperate from fear of being killed for talking. She confronted gang members who felt emboldened from no one holding them accountable. She learned most of the violence was committed by a small number of chronic offenders. She also learned during candid conversations with gang members she arrested that their path would have been different if positive intervention had occurred in their lives with the help of mentors who cared and loved them. 

Maria is a proven problem solver, who will bring a focus to the small number of those responsible for most of the violence and gun-related criminal activity.  She believes that targeting gang leaders will stop a majority of gang violence and break the influence of gangs on younger people. This will open the way for community-based resources to flourish, and provide meaningful opportunities to engage gang members with effective support to reduce their chances of re-offending. 

In her free time, Maria enjoys hiking and would like to one day, hike the entire Appalachian Trail. 




Maria was recognized throughout her career for her dedicated and exceptional service to the Nation and the communities she served. Her many accomplishments include:

  • Twice awarded the FBI Medal of Honor.
  • FBI Special Achievement Award.
  • Anti-Defamation League, SHIELD Award for significant contributions towards protecting the American people from hate crimes, extremism, domestic and international terrorism.
  • FBI Director’s Annual Award for Excellence.
  • US Attorney General’s Annual Award for Excellence.
  • International Chiefs of Police Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Prevention of Terrorism.
  • National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation for exceptional and outstanding performance in detecting, identifying, and locating individuals who posed a threat to the national security of the United States.
  • Recognized by the Governor of Wyoming for her efforts in a case involving a child abduction and murder.