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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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