HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The outgoing Madison County sheriff received a big “thank you” from the community as he marks the end of a decades-long career.
There was a packed house in downtown Thursday night in Huntsville as Blake Dorning marked his retirement.
An employee-hosted retirement celebration was held at the Round House and the turnout was huge, especially from those in law enforcement.
Dorning has served four terms as sheriff. He was surrounded by relatives on his big night.
“It’s a little overwhelming to see so many family and friends and colleagues and some of my sheriff buddies from other parts of the the state,” Dorning said.
He was asked what words he wanted to leave with those in Madison County as he looks back on his many years of service.
"You've got great law enforcement in this community. They're led by some very courageous men and women. There's very difficult times ahead for law enforcement. The drug epidemics and the things that we've been dealing with for many years seem to be growing in larger numbers," he stated.
" It’s very important for families to raise children. It’s important for young children to know the difference between right and wrong. I feel good about this community because we’ve got good leadership, law enforcement and a good education system. We need a place where everyone wants to come and wants their children to grow up there," Dorning added.
His successor, Kevin Turner, was there to show his support. Officials in the sheriff’s office says the transition between the two men has been the smoothest they’ve seen.
So what's next for Dorning as he starts a new chapter?
"Something different! Something different," he said. "I want people to know I did the best I could."
Dorning started with the Madison County Sheriff's Office in 1983, working his way through the ranks.
He thanked his family, friends and law enforcement colleagues for all of their support over the years.