NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – The New Bern Police Department is teaming up with the FBI to help protect the city from violent crime. It’s a new position recently approved by the New Bern Board of Alderman.

New Bern Chief of Police Patrick Gallagher said every violent crime is too many. That’s why he said a partnership with the FBI has only positive benefits after seeing firsthand how much the FBI helps in protecting against violent crime.

“May 31st, 2019, I was a Deputy Chief in Virginia Beach where we had a mass shooting where twelve of our city employees were murdered, five were shot,” said Chief Gallagher. “It was the FBI that came that exact day set up a command post and assisted us in an investigation that lasted almost two years.”

Gallagher said he’s very aware of how important partnerships are between local and state law enforcement, but especially federal partners as there’s no bigger partner than the FBI. The task force’s main focus is on violent crime, including drug dealing, gun violence and crime impacting the quality of life in the community. Also, there’s determining if a crime is a state or federal statute.

“The task force will work with the U.S. attorney and the district attorney to determine which court venue is in the best interest of justice,” said Gallagher.

Gallagher said a New Bern officer is in the process of obtaining specific training for the FBI position.

“What we did was we re-purposed an officer that works in our gang unit, and he will wear his traditional New Bern investigative hat, and he will wear his newly sworn federal authority hat as a TFO, federal task force officer,” Gallagher said.

He added after the 9/11 attack, it showed how incredibly important it is for law enforcement to work together. They didn’t join with the FBI because crime is rising, but because it’s in the best interest of all involved to keep New Bern and beyond safe.