CPD, RCSD unveil task force in hopes of curbing gun violence

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia Police Department Chief Skip Holbrook and Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott have a message for a small group of criminals who they say are mostly part of the problem when it comes to gun violence and crime in Columbia.

They're coming for you.

The dual law enforcement agencies announced Tuesday their intentions to form a task force over the next 60 days designed to specifically to target those criminals.

"We're going to go after them," Lott said. "We're going to make sure that if they break the law, that we're going to be there to arrest them. We're not going to continue to let them go out into our community and do multiple shootings."

Holbrook recounted the first four months of the year and said that since January 1, 166 guns have been seized. Because of that, Holbrook said, he and Lott are looking at an intelligence and data-driven approach to bringing down gun violence.

"We're going to be focusing on certain people," Holbrook said. "This isn't a dragnet where we're throwing a big net. We're focusing on certain people -- people we consider to be our most prolific crime offenders. It's not coincidental that those gun crimes offenders are also the ones breaking into cars, stealing cars, and then committing robberies. It's all connected, and unfortunately many of them are what we consider to be youthful offenders, which is more scary."

Holbrook said steps are already under way in their task force. Police and deputies have started home visits with youthful offenders in hopes of getting ahead of any potential issues. The chief also pointed at federal efforts.

But mostly, Holbrook said he's looking to the community to forge partnerships with the departments to help end the violence.

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