Greensboro, NC -- Alamance Co. Sheriff Terry Johnson is among a group of law enforcement officers who will spend the next several days in El Paso, Texas getting immigration training from a non-profit group.
Earlier this week, the US Department of Justice accused the sheriff of intentionally targeting his county's Latino population during traffic stops. The DOJ's report also painted Johnson as a racist. He and his legal team have rebutted the allegations as "gossip." WFMY News 2 asked the DOJ for the evidence it has against Johnson, particularly a statistical analysis it cited in its report, but the department refused to hand over the information.
Johnson's trip to Texas is unrelated to the investigation.
Rockingham Co. Sheriff Sam Page is also making the trip. The training is being hosted by a group called the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Page says the gathering of a few dozen sheriffs is important because what happens at the border doesn't stay at the border.
"What comes across our porous southern border is in Rockingham County [and] is in North Carolina within two-to-three days," Page said, "whether it be drugs, weapons [or] illegal [immigrants]."
Page says it's up to sheriffs across the country to learn more about the issue and pressure Congress to tighten federal immigration laws.
"The only way we're combat this is we're going to have to unite sheriffs from across America," Page said. "And that's why we're converging in El Paso in this effort to better educate what we can do to slow the flow, stop the flow and better protect our citizens in our communities."
Page added that he is heading to the training with a heavy heart, after a board member of the National Sheriffs Association -- and one of Page's personal inspirations -- died unexpectedly. Cochise County (Ariz.) Sheriff Larry Dever was killed in a car accident Tuesday.
WFMY News 2 also asked Page his thoughts on the allegations against Alamance County's sheriff. He says he supports Sheriff Johnson and believes he is "a good sheriff."
WFMY News 2