Waco: County's top lawman rocks state sheriff's conference

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Keeping a quarter of a million people safe is serious business, but sometimes you just gotta let loose.

Sheriff Parnell McNamara takes the stage with the Gordon Collier Band during the 141st Annual Sheriffs' Association of Texas Conference & Expo in San Antonio. (Courtesy photo)

The Sheriffs' Association of Texas' 141st Annual Training Conference & Expo is a time for the state's 254 sheriff's to learn and network.

"We learned a lot about all the new laws that have been passed, a class on gang violence and gang identification today, drones, there's just been a lot of law enforcement involved courses that we've been taking," said McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara. "There's about six or eight different courses every day, and we can attend every one of them that we want to, so it's a very educational thing, as well as fun."

Before the courses got underway in San Antonio this week, McLennan County's Sheriff had a little 'fun' by getting a little...funky.

For a few minutes, Parnell McNamara turned from lawman to rockstar during Sunday night's banquet at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center as the headlining musical act, the Gordon Collier Band, brought the Sheriff on stage to sing "Play that Funky Music White Boy."

"Parnell brought the house down, everybody loved it," said Collier. "I think he's such a good sport and it says so much about him as a man--he's not just a hard-nosed Sheriff, he's a real person."

Collier, the longtime evening anchor for KWTX, has a side gig as a musician.

"One of the highlights of this conference was getting to sing with the Gordon Collier Band," said McNamara. "That was really awesome, that was quite an honor."

Collier says this is the first time his band has performed at the event where hundreds of law enforcement officers meet up for four-days of educational training and bonding.

"It was a real honor for me," said Collier. "Seeing all these hard-working men and women who protect and serve us let their hair down for a bit, that was magical."

McNamara's impromptu performance has garnered 'lots' of attention from people at the conference, his wife says.

"They have nicknamed him 'the Singing Sheriff,'" said Charlotte McNamara.

While he admits he's not much of a singer, he's a leader: Sheriff McNamara was joined at the conference by four of his captains.

He says it's good for the public to get a glimpse of what his agency's command staff are like when they're off the clock to help breakdown some of the stereotypes surrounding law enforcement.

"People here are lot nicer to me after the heard me sing," McNamara joked. "So ya, I've been giving out autographs and so forth, it's really been quite fun."