Horry County police reach out to community

LITTLE RIVER, S.C. (WPDE) - Building a bridge between the community and the police is the goal of a series of meetings being held in Horry County.

Thursday night, Horry County police officers, detectives, and Interim Chief Saundra Rhodes met with residents in the northern part of the county.

The meeting is a step towards a more community-policing approach to law enforcement. Police officers are getting to know people they are serving and letting them know they are accessible.

In the auditorium of North Myrtle Beach High School, Horry County police officers listened to questions and concerns.

"I see cars coming in and people coming in there's all kinds of transactions in the area," said Crystal Williams of the Boot Hill community. She wanted to see something done about it. Williams was encouraged to start writing down license plate numbers and relaying the information to officers.

Baytree resident Jenny Swanson had a similar concern with crime happening late at night. "I'm right in the middle of some of those problems, and it's pretty disgusting, one, two, three o'clock in the morning selling drugs right in front of the condo."

A narcotics investigator later talked with Swanson to get more information. It's that connection Rhodes says is important. "Most of the information is what we know, but there's a lot of information that they bring to us that we don't know. And it actually helps us in how we're going to police."

On several occasions those in the audience were encouraged to call the North Precinct or just stop by the office on Highway 57 to talk about their concerns.

While the turnout for the meeting wasn't very large, it's just the beginning.

"The biggest goal is to foster a relationship with the public. I really don't want to wait until something negative happens for us to begin to establish relationships. I want us to have some positive interactions because undoubtedly something negative is going to happen, and I want us to be able to have those relationships and already know what to expect from the public and the public know what to expect from us," added Rhodes.

The meeting as served as a way for people from different developments to get ideas on how to fix certain problems another group has already solved. One woman also thanked police for stepping up patrols in her neighborhood after the last meeting because they were having problems with burglaries.

The next meeting for the North Precinct will be sometime in January.

If you live in the area covered by the North Precinct which includes Longs, Little River, Loris, and unincorporated areas of North Myrtle Beach you can contact the supervisors with any issues or concerns. They are Lt. Bob Carr 843-915-7983 or Sgt. Kris Leonhardt 843-915-7997.