"As your Sheriff it is important that I carry out the duties of my Office in order to maintain a safe community, and my staff and I are committed to doing so by hiring and retaining team members that are representative of our great County. I recognize the valuable impact this brings to our organization, the communities we serve , and ultimately to you." – Sheriff Blackwood
Sgt. Dawn Hunter
Investigator Dawn Hunter has been a sworn Law Enforcement Officer since April 4, 1994, and with our agency since 2010. She held various positions on Patrol and in Criminal Investigations. Additionally in 2015, Hunter became the first female in the history of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to serve on the Special Response Team.
Investigator Hunter has completed a multitude of specialized training which has directly benefited the Sheriff’s Office’s Investigations Division by adding to its impressive clearance rate. These classes include investigations of sexual assaults, domestic violence, child abuse, missing persons, fraud, robberies, computer crimes, Weapons of Mass Destruction for Radiological/Nuclear Hazardous Materials, Incident to Terrorist Bombing Awareness Training, break-ins, violent crimes against persons, and homicides/suicides.
In February 2017, Investigator Hunter was awarded the “Recognition of Excellence” award by the North Carolina Sheriff Police Alliance (Officer of the Year).
Lt. Tina Sykes
Lieutenant Sykes came to our agency in 2002 as a Detention Officer, but was soon transferred, allowing her handle all of the DCI (Division of Criminal Information) transactions in the radio room.
Two years later Sykes again transferred to the Criminal Investigation Division where she spent many years working juvenile and sexual assault cases. During this time she was promoted to Sergeant as well as earned her Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate and Criminal Investigator Certificate.
2014 proved to be a big year as Sykes was promoted to Lieutenant. She currently oversees and supervises the School Resource Officer program which has Deputies in each of the 13 Orange County Schools. Also notably, Lt. Sykes serves as the School Liaison, and has been instrumental in building a positive working relationship between the Sheriff’s Office, the schools, and all of our community’s kids.
Dep. Tiffany Watson
Deputy Watson is one of the newer members of our team. She is one of only a handful with the distinct honor of being a part of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office BLET 1st Class, graduating in August 2016.
After completing the 20 weeks of rookie school, she was assigned to the Detention Center. When a spot on Patrol became available, Watson completed the 12 weeks of Field Training and now has her own patrol car and is excitedly beginning her law enforcement career.
We can’t wait to see the good things that await Deputy Watson!
Det. Officer Mercedes Zelaya
Detention Officer Zelaya joined the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Detention Division in early 2017. After working in the facility for several months, she completed Basic Detention Officer Training and obtained her Detention Certification. This class, known as BDOT, is a 5 week long course that provides new officers the skills they need to do their job efficiently and safely.
As a Spanish speaker, Officer Zelaya provides a valuable service to the inmates who do not speak English well, or at all. This is a tremendous asset not only in the Detention Center, but also at community events where Officer Zelaya often appears and participates with other Sheriff’s Office members.