A “Community Action Team” in Cherokee County is opening the reigns of jurisdiction for Gaffney City officers and county deputies, so together they can lock up more violent offenders.
During a press conference on Tuesday Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller announced the creation of the joint effort, that’s set to tackle the recent rash of violent crime and drug activity in the county.
“If you are involved in criminal activity, the CAT team is coming after you,” said Sheriff Mueller.
Gun violence, criminal gangs, illegal gambling, prostitution, human trafficking, drug interdiction, underage alcohol sales… all crime in Cherokee County ends with the newly created “Community Action Team.” 6 Cherokee County deputies and 2 Gaffney police officers make up the “Community Action Team,” also known as “CAT.”
Sheriff Mueller says through a joint-agreement the team now has county-wide jurisdiction.
“We feel like combining our efforts together, especially as we tackle the drug dealers in our community… we will be more effective,” Mueller said.
Mueller says for years, both agencies have been going after the same “hot spots” and “breeding grounds” for criminal activity, but individually the agencies haven’t had much luck with locking up offender for good. But the Sheriff says those days are over.
“The goal of CAT is to give those individuals involved in criminal activity a change of address,” Mueller said. “We want you, the criminals, to know up front, that we will push to move as many of our cases into the federal court system, to get you more prison time.”
Mueller says a lot of the crime can be tied back to the drug problem plaguing the county. “Whether it’s a murder, whether it’s domestic violence, whether it’s property crime. There’s a direct correlation between the people involved in the use of drugs,” he said.
So while the team’s sole focus won’t be on drug activity, they will be heavily policing known drug problem areas.
CAT is also pledging to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community, by getting involved in more local organizations, so together they can curb crime in Cherokee County.
“We’ve got to have the citizens to help,” said Gaffney Police Chief Chris Skinner. “If we don’t, we are no good. We don’t have a crystal ball. We’ve got to have help.”
A new tip line that will go directly to CAT was also unveiled during the press conference. The address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizens are encouraged to report suspicious activity and any tips to the email address.