Sheriff, police collaborating with NC Attorney General's office for safer communities

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Thursday, May 23, 2024
NCAG, law enforcement discuss making communities safer
Attorney General Josh Stein and Triangle law enforcement leaders discussed public safety efforts and initiatives to make North Carolina communities safer.

NORTH CAROLINA (WTVD) -- North Carolina police and sheriff's department along with Attorney General Josh Stein (NCAG) announced how they're collaborating on public safety efforts and initiatives for safer communities.

Stein said part of his office's plan is to help recruit and retain officers across the state, solve cold case sexual assaults, and address the fentanyl crisis.

"Keeping people safe is job one for the state," said Stein. "I will continue to fight to protect children and families, including advocating for more law enforcement resources.

"Our state has ended the sexual assault kit backlog," Stein also said. "But there is more work to do.

Fentanyl is killing nine people each day in the state, according to AG Stein. "I am advocating for more prosecutors for a Fentanyl Control Unit so that my office can help local district attorneys prosecute these complex and often cross-jurisdictional cases."

Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead also spoke out on the impact of fentanyl.

"DCSO is committed to improving safety in all of our communities; those efforts include aggressively going after high-level drug dealers who are flooding our streets with fentanyl," Birkhead said.

Jason Armstrong, the police chief in Apex weighed in on the work being done to bring in new officers.

"The nation is suffering from a shortage of people wanting to do this job. North Carolina has a chance to send a message to future police officers that our state is the place you want to be in law enforcement," Armstrong said. Last week, Armstrong announced his retirement after 23 years in law enforcement. His last day is October 31.

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood had similar thoughts about recruiting and retaining officers. He said the way agencies are recruiting and retaining officers must change to meet the times.

"Someone is going to wear the badge, and we want it to be the best and brightest," said Blackwood. "Recruitment and retention of quality employees is not an issue unique to law enforcement. I think every facet of America's workforce would agree that the times we live in have changed, so too must the way we recruit and retain our respective employees."

Mebane Police Chief Mitch McKinney gave credit to better technology that's helping solve cold case sexual assaults and fight the fentanyl crisis.

"Our commitment to fighting the fentanyl crisis and solving cold case sexual assaults is stronger than ever; thanks to advances in technology, we are much better leveraged to support that commitment. Supporting public safety is a noble profession that remains the keystone of our community's safety and justice for victims, where recruiting and retaining dedicated individuals is critical to ensuring we can still do the work," McKinney said.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced Tuesday that the backlog of sexual assault kits in the state had been cleared.