Watauga County hosts N.C. Sheriffs'

Article Published: Nov. 12, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Watauga County hosts N.C. Sheriffs'

From left, sheriffs Kevin Frye of Avery, David Edwards of Alleghany, Jack Conner of Rutherford and Len Hagaman of Watauga counties were among the 65 officers to attend the fall convention of the N.C. Sheriffs' Association held at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock.

Photo by Melanie Marshall

Sheriffs from across North Carolina gathered last week at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock for the annual convention of the N.C. Sheriffs' Association (NCSA).

The association is comprised of every sheriff in North Carolina's 100 counties. The organization meets twice annual, in the spring and fall, for training sessions.

Watauga County Sheriff's Office was selected to host this year's fall event. The association convened last week in Blowing Rock with 65 sheriffs in attendance.

"I deeply appreciate all of the work of our command staff and our deputies. Lots of very positive comments were made about how helpful our folks were," said Watauga sheriff Len Hagaman, "In addition, I was very grateful to Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye, Ashe County Sheriff James Williams, and Caldwell County Sheriff Alan Jones for their assistance and the use of their deputies as "co-hosts" along with our folks."

The WCSO honor guard welcomed the officers to the convention. The guard consists of of Lt. Wes Hawkins as a rifle bearer, Sgt. Adam Lentz bearing the North Carolina flag, and WCSO Deputies Aaron Billings as a rifle bearer, Jon Fullen bearing the United States flag, Carolynn Gragg bearing the Watauga County Flag, and William Mast bearing the WCSO flag.

"I was especially proud of our honor guard," Hagaman said. "Many sheriffs stated they were very impressed with the team. In fact, two sheriffs asked if we would visit their counties to both organize and train their respective honor and color guards."

The three-day event featured training session on issues uniquely related to the elected office of sheriff in addition to leadership seminars. A few topics include election laws, communications, federal laws and court procedures.

Stan Burke, supervisory special agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Rueben Young, secretary of the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, Robin Pendergraft, director of the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, Peggy Schaefer, director of the N.C. Justice Academy, were among the featured speakers. Representatives of the U.S. Marshal's Office, National Guard counter drug task force, N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper's office, and the N.C. Court of Appeals were also in attendance as guest lecturers.

"The NCSA did a great job in providing a very positive and informative training seminar," Hagaman said. "The instruction was intense, well presented, very informative, and very timely."

The sheriffs also visited the local businesses, restaurants in Boone and Blowing Rock, and toured the Samaritan's Purse facilities.

"We have particularly appreciated the local hospitality and enjoyed visiting the community," Eddie Caldwell Jr., executive vice president of NCSA. "Sheriff Hagaman and personnel have been wonderful in planning and hosting the event."

Blowing Rock and Boone Chambers of Commerce, Chetola Resort, Mast General Store in Valle Crucis and Boone, Cheap Joe's Art Supplies, Goodnight Brothers Country Ham, Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Avery County Transportation and Samaritan's Purse contributed to the convention.

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