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High-Result Crime Task Force Running Out of Money

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RALEIGH — A high-powered, high-result crime task force that has made the streets safer inWake Countyis in danger of shutting down. The group's federal funding is running out.

The 4-year-old Wake County Dangerous Offenders Task Force is asking the state to kick in a little more than $300,000. The program allows investigators and prosecutors to focus on the worst cases and bring them to court quickly.

If they do not get the money, they say the wheels of justice will slow way down.

Joel Freedman has a hard time navigating steps. Last June, theN.C. Statestudent was savagely beaten by three men. He spent 11 days in a coma.

"I don't want to see anyone else go through what I've had to go through, because that's a hard thing," said Freedman.

"We didn't really know whether he would live or not," said Mary Kamm, Freedman's mother.

Kamm says the Wake County Dangerous Offenders Task Force helped the family get through the painful ordeal and helped put the attackers in prison.

"They were able to put these people in a position where they could not harm others, and that, I believe, is one of the most important things about this program," said Kamm.

Two prosecutors and two investigators work on solving the county's most violent crimes.

They helped capture rapistRobert Pratt. They helped convict rapistBem Holloway. But without help, they will run out of money.

"I don't want to think what would happen if we didn't have those resources to protect the people and to send a message that we're not going to tolerate in Wake County or the state of North Carolina this kind of violence," said prosecutor Evelyn Hill.

Freedman says the task force is a big part of making his life livable.

"Amazingly, I made it through and am back to what I was doing before," said Freedman.

Many prosecutors and investigators handle 75 to 100 cases at a time, but the task force concentrates on a small number at one time.

In many instances, it takes a year for a case to come to trial. The task force disposes of most of its cases within 7 weeks.


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