by Nikita Stewart

Former Arlington County Sheriff Thomas N. Faust has been tapped by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) as acting director of the District Department of Corrections.

Faust, who must be confirmed by the D.C. Council, said at Gray's weekly news briefing that his years as an elected sheriff have made him sensitive to community needs.

“This is not my jail system,” he said. “This is the system of the citizens of the District of Columbia.”

Faust retired as Arlington’s sheriff in 2000, less than a year into his third four-year term, to become executive director of the Alexandria-based National Sheriff’s Association. He had worked in the sheriff’s office for a total of 24 years.

In Arlington, he is credited with the opening of the new jail and justice center in 1994, and with implementing innovative programs, including substance abuse treatment and parenting classes for inmates.

Faust took the helm of the Department of Corrections last week, according to a biography of him posted on the agency’s Web site.

Faust worked most recently as a public safety consultant, and before that was a vice president for Aramark Correctional Services.

“His 34 years of experience in the field of criminal justice include a quarter-century with the Arlington County Department, including several terms as sheriff,” Gray (D) said in a statement. “His expertise will serve the District well in one of our most important public-safety agencies.”