NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Leaders in the city of Wilmington recently approved additional money for the fight against gang violence, but you shouldn't expect the same kind of financial support from their counterparts in New Hanover County, according to Chairman Woody White.
White said the roughly $36 million allocated for the sheriff's budget this year includes some money to spend on situations like this. If Sheriff Ed McMahon were to approach the board of commissioners to ask for more money, White said the request would have to wait.
"It's important to not make funding decisions in the middle of an emergency," he said. "Because sometimes you make the wrong choice and it's hard to take dollars back when you do that."
Discussions about next year's budget would be the appropriate time, according to White.
Wilmington City Council recently approved about $142,000 for the Wilmington Police Department to form a gang investigative unit.
A spokesperson for the sheriff's office said Sheriff Ed McMahon is rearranging his deputies to cover the seven required for a new joint-effort with the WPD.
Shifting resources around to fit a budget is what the sheriff has been doing lately, and White said McMahon's been doing it well.
"He thinks very creatively and innovatively, and we support that," said White.
The chairman highlighted how McMahon handled the need for additional School Resource Officers after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. The sheriff stretched resources to put deputies in every elementary school as a temporary solution. The long-term plan for additional SROs in elementary schools is still without funding.
White said comparing the two situations is like apples and oranges.
The sheriff has not made a formal request to the board of commissioners. A spokesperson said he will assess the needs of his office first.
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