FORSYTH COUNTY -- While Forsyth County juveniles may not be any more delinquent than others in the state, with nearly a third of the population under the age of 18, the county’s juvenile court is seeing more traffic and increasing caseload demands, calling for more judges in the system.
Randall Meincke was recently appointed as the first full-time Associate Juvenile Court Judge for Forsyth County. He previously served part-time in the position and will be the county’s 10th full-time judge, joining Chief Juvenile Court Judge J. Russell Jackson as the court’s only other full-time judge.
“This is another milestone demonstrating the significant improvements in our judiciary’s ability to process and dispose of the ever-scaling caseload in Forsyth County,” Jackson said.
Meincke will be sworn in on Friday, Aug. 5 at 11:30 a.m. at the Forsyth County Juvenile Courthouse Annex. Jackson and Chief Superior Court Judge Jeffrey S. Bagley will officiate the ceremony.
Meincke’s appointment comes in response to Forsyth County’s exploding population and the large number of child and teen residents.
In the last 15 years, the county’s population has more than doubled — from 98,407 residents in 2000 to 212,438 in 2015 — currently making Forsyth County the fastest growing in the state and ranking 11th in the nation for population growth over the last five years.
From April 2010 to July 2015, the county’s population grew 21 percent, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report.
In addition to hearing cases, Meincke will assist in future development projects aimed at identifying causes of delinquent and dependent behavior as well as programs designed to positively respond to the needs of the communities’ at-risk youth and families.
While initiatives such as the Teen Interception Program — a seven-week, two-hour-a-week class run out of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office — have begun such work, there is more to be done.
“I have seen firsthand the real needs of our community,” Jackson said. “The lives of the children in our community are precious and the problems children face, whether delinquency or dependency, deserve our highest response and priority.”
Bagley praised Jackson and also expressed confidence in Meincke’s appointment.
“It is comforting to know,” he said, “that our juvenile court will continue to provide adequate access to justice for the citizens of Forsyth County. I have the utmost confidence in Judge Jackson and newly appointed Judge Meincke to dispense justice competently, fairly, and swiftly to all who come before their bench.”