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      Horry County police chief given national honor

      Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes. Photo provided by Horry County officials

      Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes has been named the 2014 Woman Law Enforcement Executive of the Year by the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives.

      The award honors an individual who has distinguished herself in the association, as well as her profession and her community, according to a news release.

      Rhodes has been in law enforcement for 21 years and was the first African American and female police chief for the Horry County Police Department, the release said.

      Rhodes began her career in 1993 as an undercover narcotics agent, working as a substitute teacher during the day and a narcotics agent at night. Rhodes has held positions in every division within the police department, according to the release.

      The release noted that Rhodes established the Community Outreach Team for Horry County's police department.

      Members of that team attend numerous community events and are tasked with developing creative ideas to get more involved with the community and have a positive impact. One of the Community Outreach Team programs is "Shop with a Cop," where police officers take children, identified by the school district as at risk or under-privileged, to shop at local Walmart stores during the Christmas holidays.

      The release also noted Rhodes's revamping of the recruiting program to aggressively recruit qualified minority and female candidates and that officers now attend job fairs at colleges across South Carolina to recruit possible police officers.