Sheriff Charles Blackwood is a 40-year Veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, where he began his career on December 16, 1980. Initially assigned to the Uniform Patrol Division, he rose through the ranks, earning promotions to Corporal, Sergeant, and then Lieutenant of the Patrol Division.
Following another promotion in 2003, Blackwood served as Captain of Services, supervising the Civil Process Division and all Courthouse Operations. In 2010, he assumed the rank of Major of Operations where he supervised all divisions and reported directly to the Sheriff.
Blackwood retired on December 17, 2012; then-Governor Beverly Perdue awarded him with the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine for his service to the State of North Carolina. During his retirement, he prepared to campaign for the Office of Sheriff, anticipating the retirement of long-serving Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass.
Elected in 2014, Blackwood became the 47th Sheriff of Orange County. Since becoming Sheriff, he graduated from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association’s (NCSA) Sheriffs’ Leadership Institute, an intensive course of instruction for newly elected sheriffs that he was instrumental in developing several years before becoming Sheriff. He is an active member of NCSA; elected in July 2022 as the president of the association. Charles is also a Governing Board Member and Vice-Chair of the North Carolina Criminal Justice Information Network. Governor Roy Cooper appointed Charles to the Governors’ Crime Commission in 2017, and named him Vice-Chair in 2020. Director Bob Schurmeier of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation named Blackwood to the SBI Center for the Analysis of Police Use of Force in 2020. In April, 2021 Sheriff Blackwood was appointed to the Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services Board by Governor Roy Cooper at the recommendation of the Office of Attorney General. He is also a member of the North Carolina Justice Academy Joint In-Service Training Subcommittee and the Fully Autonomous Vehicle Committee. Most recently, he accepted a request to serve on a law enforcement advisory panel for the Governor’s Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice.
In addition to the statewide leadership summarized above, Sheriff Blackwood is very active leading the 150+employees of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Locally, he serves on the Orange County Behavioral Health Task Force, the Jail Mental Health Workgroup, and the Orange County Racial Justice Task Force. He is active at both the state and local level on committees addressing bail and bond reform and working to ensure the safety of children in our schools. He is an advocate of the recovery community and works tirelessly to examine and develop innovative ways to address the opioid epidemic, drug misuse, and mental illness. Attorney General Josh Stein presented Sheriff Blackwood with a Dogwood Award in 2020 for his work combatting the opioid epidemic in North Carolina, specifically highlighting Orange County’s Coordinated Opioid Overdose Reduction Effort, a program known as COORE.
Charles is married to Lisa Williams Blackwood, a lifelong resident of Orange County. They have two children, and two grandchildren.