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City, county leaders announce 'enforcement partnership' in wake of shootings

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington and New Hanover County leaders announced what they called an "enforcement partnership" between Wilmington Police and the Sheriff's Office in the wake of recent violence, including the shooting of a deputy and the shooting death of his alleged assailant.

Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said law enforcement has made more than 100 arrests in the last several months as they fought the area's gang problem.

"With this added effort comes push back," Evanglous said. "Now we are pushing back."

Evangelous and New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon announced a 14-man housing unit comprised of seven police officers and seven deputies to patrol Wilmington Housing Authority communities, which have been at the center of the problem. They also plan to expand uniformed presence around the city and county by deploying 32 non-patrol officers from each agency.

"This is a community problem," McMahon said. "There has been a blatant disregard for the community the last weeks and months."

Evangelous, McMahon, District Attorney Ben David and several members of the Wilmington City Council and New Hanover County Commission attended an afternoon news conference at City Hall to announce the joint effort.

"You all have the right to feel safe where you live, where you work and where you travel," Evangelous said.

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