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Law enforcement, neighbors gather in Ridgeville for gun violence forum

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 10:28 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2022 at 4:23 AM EDT
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RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - High-ranking law enforcement officials in Dorchester County came together to speak with the community Thursday night on how to reduce gun violence throughout the county.

Leaders from the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, Ridgeville, Holly Hill and St. George police departments gathered at the Ridgeville Community Center for a forum with neighbors hosted by the Community Resource Center.

Holly Hill Police Chief Joshua Detter said he was surprised at the willingness of the community to come together to find a potential solution.

“I was shocked actually to hear a lot of the community say it wasn’t necessarily the guns that were the issue as much as it was the people that are using them wrongly,” he said.

Among the audience was Tisa Whack, who lost her only son to gun violence.

She said people need to learn how to resolve conflicts without using a gun but also speak up when they see something is off.

“I think law enforcement, they can do but so much,” Whack said, “but they do need community involvement to reduce the crime in the city and the gun violence.”

Law enforcement leaders said they are trying to get out into the community more and show their presence to prevent crime from happening.

Dorchester County Sheriff’s Lt. Rick Carson said over 95% of stolen handguns in the county are taken from unlocked cars and urged people to lock up their belongings.

Whack said other people can get involved is through voting during this year’s general election.

“When you talk about gun violence being a weapon problem or a people problem, it can be a combination of both,” she said, “but when you talk about a people problem when people don’t vote that causes some of the laws that you want to see and the changes you want to see not go into effect.”

Overall, the law enforcement agencies and the community said the forum was a huge success, and they hope to have more of them in the future.

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