Whiteville holds vigil for law enforcement

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COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The killing of five police officers in dallas has led to an outpouring of support for law enforcement from citizens around the country, including support from Columbus County residents.

“It means the world to me to know that as Sheriff of this county, I have so much support from the community and from the churches,” said Columbus County Sheriff Lewis Hatcher.

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An outpouring of support from residents included song and prayer for a special vigil Saturday. Some even said it’s a movement to show those who serve that their community stands behind them. This comes after five Dallas police officers were killed in the line of duty last week.

“You got bad cops just like you have bad preachers, you have bad teachers,” said organizer Brandon Patrick. “Everybody can’t be perfect and I thank god that we’re not.”

Patrick hopes these actions now will prevent tragic events like those in Dallas from happening.

“I’m sorry that it took losing five officers for the community to actually reach out to the sheriff’s department,” he said.

Lake Waccamaw resident Betty Pearl said a united front is more important than ever before.

“My concern is not only for the police officers, especially because my daughter’s one, but also for all the grieving people who are going through this here turbulent time in America’s history,” Pearl said.

The event drew pastors, church and community members, and law enforcement who all joined hands to support one another, and those who serve.

“Even if it changed one person’s mindset about what this is all about, and what we could do if we stand together,” Pearl said. “One person could have the ripple effect.”

Sheriff Hatcher said he’s confident this movement is a step forward for the community and the country.

“I hope that this is a start to build the trust between the officers and the people in the community,” he said. “And that’s where a lot of it starts, being able to trust each other.”