North Myrtle Beach hires new Public Safety Director, Police Chief

Jay Fernandez is the new North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Department Director.

North Myrtle Beach announced Tuesday Jay Fernandez is the new North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Department Director. The department includes police and fire/rescue personnel.

Fernandez is a 25 year cross-trained public safety veteran from Cooper City, Florida.

Interim Public Safety Director Rick Buddelmeyer was promoted to the newly created position of chief of police. The city already has a fire chief.

"I thank Rick Buddelmeyer for his many positive contributions to our public safety department over the years and particularly during his service as our interim director since February 2010," City Manager Mike Mahaney said. "This has been a challenging transition for the city and Rick has handled it with skill and finesse. I value Rick's leadership and insights, and that is why I have promoted him to the newly created position of chief of police."

"At the same time, I want to welcome Jay Fernandez on board as our new director of public safety," Mahaney said. "He is cross-trained in police and fire skills, and he has more than 25 years of leadership service under his belt. Jay worked with me when I was the city manager of Deerfield Beach, Florida and I believe that, in conjunction with our police and fire chiefs, he will do a great job of moving the entire department forward."

Fernandez will begin work in early February at an an annual salary of $92,699.88. Myrtle Beach Public Information Officer Pat Dowling says Buddelmeyer will earn between $50,000-$100,000 annually.

The hires come some seven months after a wave of controversy in the Public Safety Department. The former North Myrtle Beach public safety director is suing the city for $11 million for wrongful termination.

William Bailey says a grievance hearing in April did not meet the requirements set out in the personnel manual. He also says the city denied him his liberty, property interests in wages, retirement benefits and other employment benefits.

Bailey's troubles started when his service weapon was stolen from his truck.

City officials say Bailey told them the weapon had been locked in the vehicle's glovebox, but it was later discovered his glovebox didn't lock.

Bailey says he never told the city it was locked, but rather that it was "secured" in his truck.

The city terminated Bailey last May.

Dowling says the new hires are a sign North Myrtle Beach is moving forward.

Fernandez, who retired as chief of the Deerfield Beach District of the Broward County, Florida Sheriff's Office in May 2010, holds a Master of Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University, a Master of Arts Degree in History from Louisiana Tech University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Louisiana Tech University.

Fernandez also graduated from the Command Officers Development Course of the Southern Police Institute, the Florida Atlantic University Executive Leadership Program, the Cross Certification Police Academy and the Corrections Academy at BCC/CJI. He is also a graduate of a wide variety of FEMA National Incident Management Training courses.

From December 2006 to May 2010, Fernandez was chief of the Broward County Sheriff's Office Deerfield Beach District, where he was responsible for 129 sworn and 33 civilian personnel. The command was comprised of administration, criminal investigations, selective enforcement team, tactical deployment team, traffic unit, community affairs team, school resource program, Police Athletic League, commercial vehicle enforcement, code enforcement unit, and a partnership with the countywide money laundering task force and gun squad.

Fernandez also was responsible for a $19.6 million budget. He was credited with four consecutive years of cumulative overall Part I crime reduction, with an 11.5% reduction in Part I crimes experienced in 2009. As defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Part I crimes include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

Fernandez also helped to develop a barrier island evacuation plan in the event of large scale hazardous accident scene or natural disasters.

From April 2006 to December 2006, Fernandez served as acting chief and executive officer for the Deerfield Beach District, directly responsible for the criminal investigation division, selective enforcement team, traffic unit, code enforcement unit and the community affairs unit.

From February 2004 to April 2006, he served as operations commander in the Cooper City District where he was directly responsible for all operational and numerous administrative duties. He also drafted Cooper City's Standard Operating Procedures Manual and a five year strategic plan for the Cooper City District.

From June 1999 to February 2004, Fernandez served a lieutenant in unincorporated central Broward County and in the Hollywood/Pembroke Park Districts.

From January 1997- December 2003, he also served on the BSO SWAT Team with 225 missions. He is certified in Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) and bio/chemical suit applications for joint fire rescue and SWAT missions.

Fernandez conducted joint Deerfield Beach fire rescue, lifeguard, and sheriff's office special operations ocean rescue training exercises and demonstrations.

From April 1992 to June 1999 he was assigned as a road patrol sergeant, criminal investigations sergeant and selective enforcement team sergeant in the unincorporated areas of Hollywood and Pembroke Park, Florida. He also served as a compliance officer.

From August 1984 to April 1992 he served as a corrections deputy at various county jails and is fully versed in the care and custody of juvenile and adult detainees.

He graduated from the Cross Certification Police Academy in 1987.

Fernandez has received numerous honors, which include the Silver Cross Award, the Grand Cordon Award, Honorable Service Awards, more than 35 letters of commendation and the Rotary International Paul Harris Award.

His memberships have included Deerfield Beach Rotary Club (Board of Directors), Deerfield Beach Kiwanis Club, Deerfield Beach Chamber of Commerce, American Society for Public Administration, International Association of Police Chiefs, National Association of Police Chiefs, International City/County Management Association, Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, Pi Alpha Alpha National Honor Society, Broward County Chiefs of Police Association, Cooper City Optimist Club, County Glen HOA Board of Directors.

North Myrtle Beach Police Chief Rick Buddelmeyer, also cross-trained, has 20 years of experience in municipal police operations. He has served with the North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Department since 1987. With the exception of detective, he has held all ranks within the department. He served as interim public safety director from February 2010 through to the present.

From 1981 to 1987, Buddelmeyer served as dispatcher for the Henry County, Ohio Sheriff's Office, directing sheriff's deputies, fire departments and EMS ambulance during emergencies. His duties grew to include fraudulent check operations, road patrol responsibilities and administrative reporting. He was also the 911 technical advisor for Henry County, and was responsible for the development of the first enhanced 911 Center in Ohio.

Buddelmeyer also worked part-time for the Town of Hamler, Ohio as the Town Marshall, providing basic police services to a town of 364 residents.

Buddelmeyer earned an Associate Degree in Public Service with a major in Criminal Justice from Horry- Georgetown Technical College, and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration from Mount Olive College, North Carolina.

His professional associations include the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association, South Carolina Firefighters Association, Fraternal Order of Police (Coastal Carolina Lodge 12), Eastern States Criminal Investigators Association.

Past memberships include the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Fire Chiefs, and International Association of Fire Service Instructors.