The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is expanding its national influence.

Last week, Sheriff Al Cannon became a member of the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, which is normally limited to counties with a population of more than 500,000, Assistant Sheriff Mitch Lucas said Thursday.

Cannon is the first sheriff in South Carolina to become a member, according to Lucas, who became an associate member.

Membership gives the local sheriff’s office a place at the table when discussing national issues that affect local crime, such as Mexican drug cartels, Lucas said.

Also last week, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office won a nationally recognized award. The National Sheriffs Association gave Charleston County the Triple Crown Award.

The quality of the jail’s infirmary and training of corrections officers were key factors in getting the award, Lucas said.

The award follows accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, the American Correctional Association and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.

The Triple Crown Award has been given fewer than 50 times to the more than 3,000 sheriff’s offices in America, Lucas said.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or