Local police officers, community members work to stop gang violence

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WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Community members and law enforcement officers across the East are coming together Friday to combat gang violence as part of the Gang Free NC Symposium.

Local law enforcement officers say gangs are a growing problem in the East. That’s why they’re working with city leaders and concerned community members to talk about how to solve it.

The symposium will walk participants through the basics of gangs, gang psychology, and the process officers go through in identifying gang members. They’ll also work to develop initiatives to prevent young people from getting involved in gangs.

The group Gang Free NC hosts training sessions like this across the state. Washington Police and Fire Director Stacy Drakeford says it’s much needed in the East.

“In certain areas, it’s a significant problem. So we’re trying to get ahead of that problem so we are educating our general public and law enforcement in this area of Beaufort County about things that they can see to be able to identify potential gang members,” Director Drakeford said.

Director Drakeford says it’s important to be transparent.

“Sometimes in our profession, we tend to have a tendency to keep things secret, but now that’s gone. And so everybody needs to have the same information that we get to a degree in how we have the gang problem here not only in the country but in the state of North Carolina,” Director Drakeford said.

The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Temple of Jesus Christ Family Life Center. That’s located at 810 Hackney Avenue in Washington.

For more information, contact Kimberly Grimes at 252-943-1715 or kgrimes@washingtonnc.gov.

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