NHSO, WPD to move gang, housing, downtown units under same roof
 

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A new initiative is joining some forces of the New Hanover County Sheriff's office and the Wilmington Police Department under one roof.

They are transforming the former "Shaw Speaks" building downtown into a "law enforcement fusion" building.

The building was owned by the county and they have saved money by having most of it repainted by inmates.

"It just makes sense," Sheriff Ed McMahon said. If we're gonna be working together then we need to have areas where we can house the officers together."

So that's exactly what they did. They're placing the housing unit and gang task force under one roof. Blue offices for WPD and tan for the Sheriff's Office.

"One department of division may know something else, and if that information is not shared, then it takes longer," Deputy Police Chief Marshall Williamson said.

They hope sharing resources will allow them to solve problems more quickly.

The building will also house Elements, the youth violence and intervention program.

Program director Kristy Williams says this is going to be huge.

"There are endless opportunities. We haven't had a space to work out of in the past," Williams said. "We've had to do everything in the homes, in the community."

The building gives Elements space for kids to study and play.

Sheriff McMahon hopes placing officers and at-risk youth in the same facility will show a softer side to law enforcement.

"It's so important that our youth do not just see our law enforcement enforcing the law and arresting people," McMahon said.

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Despite what this article may say, this "novel" idea is not new. The first WPD / NHCSO gang task force started in 1998 did just this. The effort provided programming for gang involved youth in a space where law enforcement was also housed. The first of its kind. A program supported by one of the largest grants ever given by the Governor's Crime Commission. The second time, 2008, the same program was created as a joint effort between WPD CCU and NHCSO gang task force. A space was again shared by civilian program personnel and law enforcement. Programs were held in this office space for youth and they were also able to see the "softer side" of law enforcement. In fact the program was built with this specifically in mind. Law Enforcement participated in almost every facet of the programming. Let's also talk about the time period when a space was not available for the youth. It was requested, time and time again. It was deemed "not necessary". Even during this time period both agencies and respective gang units were housed together. How did these programs do? Well both the 1998 and 2008 programs were national and state level award winners. Both programs became a model for others across the country looking for gang prevention and intervention programming. So let's be honest folks.... You are doing it AGAIN because it worked. Well and good. But don't portray some novel, creative collaboration that's the first of its kind. That looks idiotic. Put out there the truth. These agencies couldn't maintain and build upon success if it was laid out in front of them. Denying problems until the violence was out of control got you to this place. Just think what a great place it would be if you had been consistent with the award winning efforts that were in place some 15 years ago.

There is nothing new or amazing by putting these guys in a building. They still aren't addressing the crime that is occurring daily, countywide. I pay plenty of taxes and have watched crime increase around the county including my neighborhood. I don't see deputies anymore because they are all assigned in the inner city. McMahon, get back to your constitutional duties and protect us!!! I'm not paying for deputies to hang out in the city. The city police has officers for that. If they can't handle it then they need to give their budget to the sheriff and disband.

I live in the city. In addition to paying city taxes, I pay the same county taxes as those who live outside the city in the unincorporated areas. As a city resident, I pay just as much to support the Sheriff's office as you do and deserve as much protection as a result. City residents also pay to support the WPD, which incidentally cross the city limits to assist the Sheriff in the unincorporated areas where tax payers are not paying to support them. The Sheriff serves the entire county, which happens to include the inner city.

I know city residents pay county taxes too. Take a step back and think for a minute, Budgets are made considering the areas the police must protect and the areas the sheriff must protect. This has been done for years. Unless the sheriff can pull deputy positions out of his butt, they are being pulled from other assignments. Your city taxes are planned out for you and obviously your police department can't handle their basic responsibilities. The county taxes you pay go for many things such as the health department and library. Neither one of us are getting what we are taxed for.

At you LOCAL PARK ON RIVER ROAD... several hours EACH DAY....
Or at SNOWS CUT PARK...
I visit each one almost every Day... I FIND 2 or 3 (sometimes more), NHCSO(s),, talking, enjoying them selves AT the PARK..... EVERYDAY....

THEY enjoy the parks MORE than the Locals do!

Sid Causey lives in Assisted Living Village,look it up on his board of elections record! It's right next to Holly Tree.

I hope this is true. Sid needs watching. He does not need to be flying kites, or getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Misleading article. The WPD housing unit and the Gang Task Force used to be one and the same (WPD's gang/housing officers were cross-sworn as deputies and they were working together and out of the same office) from around 2006 until about year ago, when WPD split them up and prevented them from working together. They were all already in the same office along with the Downtown Task Force before being pulled out. WPD's new gang unit has nothing to do with the NHCSO's Gang Task Force.

WPDs housing authority and NHSOs gang unit have been working together under the same roof downtown.Only within the past few weeks have both units moved to a new location together. This sounds like an elections tactics to make both sides look better to the general public