Greenville County Sheriff looks to form gang task force - FOX Carolina 21

Greenville County Sheriff looks to form gang task force

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Greenville County Sheriff's Badge (Courtesy: GCSO) Greenville County Sheriff's Badge (Courtesy: GCSO)

We're looking into how the Greenville County Sheriff's office plans to curb the gang problem that the Sheriff says is a huge issue in the county.

Sheriff Will Lewis says 17 year old Makiya Hawkins was an innocent bystander in a gang related shooting on May 14th, and he says he wants a gang task force to tackle the problem. 

“What I would like to see is five additional deputies designated to a task force directly related to gangs in Greenville County.”

The Sheriff says there's no indication Makiya had any direct involvement with those involved in the shooting.

“Makiya suffered a  gunshot wound, and based on all indications it appeared to be that she was caught in the crossfire of, and I say this way too often, of a gang related shooting.”

We're learning more about what a county gang task force could look like, and are also finding out the County Council has added in ten additional Greenville County Deputy positions, five in the proposed 2018 budget and five in the proposed 2019 budget.

Butch Kirven is the Greenville County Council Chairman, “They'll be able to increase the capabilities of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Department and this is what Sheriff Will Lewis requested and the County Council was glad to be able to provide that in our budget.”

If those positions eventually get approved later this summer, it would mean more manpower for the Greenville County Sheriff's office, and possibly, the formation of a gang task force.

Tuesday night was the first reading of the budget, the next one will be at the next county council meeting in two weeks.

Chairman Kirven believes the additional deputy positions in the budget will pass.

Carol Reeves is with Greenville Family Partnership and tells us, while a task force may help part of the problem, you also have to look at reaching local youth early.  And she adds, the entire community has to buy in for the long haul.

“They'll care for a minute and have that emotion and then give themselves an excuse.  I wish everyone would think about that because it doesn't have to be this way, more children can be saved.”

The Greenville Family Partnership tells us they are holding their 10th annual Greenville Youth Summit in July.  It’s for 14 to 17 year olds from around the county, and they talk about tough topics like politics, community drugs alcohol and gangs.

It's free and will take place at Bob Jones University.  Click here for more information

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