Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood was a part of the 94th Annual Sheriff Training Conference last week.

Sheriffs from across North Carolina gather annually to share their ideas and processes with one another, to learn together and train on new tactics.

The conference focused on building leadership within each community and standing strong together in response to the negativity towards law enforcement nationwide.

“A lot of people have drawn focus on law enforcement and those programs within the community – or lack-there-of – that builds trust, establish bridges and deal with the societal ills that law enforcement have to deal with on a daily basis,” Blackwood said.

Blackwood said he’s never seen threats against law enforcement simply because the jobs that they do.

“This is the first time that I can remember being involved in any type of law enforcement gathering where so many of our leaders were walking around shaking hands and hugging each other, saying ‘I love you,’ because we realize that tomorrow we may not be there,” Blackwood said.

Blackwood said he hopes that they can figure out a way to reduce crime to minimize contentious interactions in order to create less hate and more unity within the community.

“We don’t go out and create the call, the call calls us. So if we can reduce crime, enable a situation where we don’t have to come to these meetings with blue lights behind us, but rather come together in friendship and helping one another with the problems we see facing us,” Blackwood said. “As a community, I’d like to think we are a bit unique in Orange County and we do have so many people on both sides of the table who are willing to come together and dissolve that space between us and working collaboratively to make things better for everybody.”

The North Carolina Sheriff’s Association also discussed updates on laws and procedures and participated in training with body-worn cameras and dashboard cameras.

Blackwood said he was overwhelmed with the hospitality of the sheriff in Brunswick County and his staff during the conference.