Sheriff's department and Columbia police join forces to tackle gang violence

Published: Jun. 6, 2014 at 10:15 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2014 at 9:56 PM EDT
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(Source: CPD Facebook)
(Source: CPD Facebook)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The storefront substation in the Boozer Shopping Center occupied by the Richland County Sheriff's Department is now bolstered by the Columbia Police Department as the agencies combine gang units.

"Our number one challenge in the Columbia area is our gangs," Sheriff Leon Lott said. "And if we can work together, we can be so much more effective."

Lott has been long active in the struggle to control the growth of gangs in the county is linking his department's experts with Columbia's.

Even going so far as to sign a formal agreement with Chief Skip Holbrook.

"This agreement allows us to be able to address boundary impediments, jurisdictional impediments, which the criminals, they don't pay attention to that, we do." Holbrook said. "I think this is a good example of when good men combine, evil will fall."

Lott said teaming up with the city as well as other law enforcement agencies is especially important as summer approaches.

Lott said gangs were very active last year.

"We had a terrible summer last year," Lott said. "The gangs just raised their ugly head. One of the reasons was we got complacent. And I mean we, I mean the community."

The sheriff said the departments will explore other opportunities to join forces.

He says those efforts should not be viewed as preliminary steps toward merging the agencies altogether.

The move is also a bargain for both departments since the space is donated free of charge by  the Boozer family.

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