ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCT) — Sheriffs from across North Carolina were in Atlantic Beach on Monday … not for vacation but to hear from vendors and organizations on ways to help combat crimes.
It was all part of their annual business conference. From gun permits to communications, organizations were pitching their services to help sheriff’s offices across the state. There were 69 sheriffs attending the yearly conference. They heard from companies like Permitium, which helps process gun applications quicker.
Officials are also hearing presentations on mental health, jail transports and from other sheriffs about the tools that work for their counties. One major topic of conversation included the transition from jail back to society.
Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck said these ideas are not only about punishing criminals but also about seeking justice for the victims. He said these types of discussions are necessary as society changes.
“Criminals come up with new ways of victimizing people, technology changes, all kinds of things change over time,” Buck said. “And as law enforcement, we have to keep up with the times, we have to keep up with new things.”
One challenge affecting almost every county is the opioid crisis. Recently, several state attorney generals, including N.C.’s Josh Stein, joined pharmaceutical companies in agreeing on a $26 billion settlement. It’s not quite clear how funds from the settlement will be distributed, but that’s a topic of conversation at the forefront of the minds of the sheriffs in North Carolina.
Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said he’s exploring how those funds might be used in his county.
“What we’re talking about is if funds do come our way, we’re probably going to put it toward educational components, and once again making sure people that have this sickness,” Hughes said. “That we can find them help once they are released.”
Hughes said peer-to-peer mentoring could be a component for people in recovery who are leaving jail.
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