Legislative delegation asks SLED to investigate Horry County police

An unsigned letter that was sent to every member of the Horry County Legislative Delegation and Horry County Council accuses some members of the Horry County Police Department of professional and personal misconduct.

The letter includes allegations ranging from money and drugs disappearing from the evidence room to the department covering up incidents of officers committing crimes.

The letter says officers within the department are scared to come forward.

"The allegations were serious enough that someone had to take a look at it," says State Representative Nelson Hardwick, R-Surfside. "It's hard to investigate yourself. That's why we got SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division) involved."

The delegation voted unanimously to send the request to SLED during their August 17th meeting, said Hardwick.

Hardwick then sent a formal request to SLED.

"We have received the request, and it's under review," said SLED spokesperson Kathy Richardson.

Horry County police referred NewsChannel 15 to county spokesperson Lisa Bourcier for comment.

"It is our understanding that the Delegation has made an official request to SLED to investigate allegations made in an anonymous letter concerning the Horry County Police Department," said Bourcier. "The issue is now in the hands of SLED, and we will await their decision on whether or not they will take on the investigation. If they do, we will absolutely cooperate in any way we can."

The county has arrested police officers found guilty of wrong doing before, said Bourcier.

County Council Chair Tom Rice released this statement Thursday afternoon, "In the past several days, I have received multiple inquiries from the local press regarding an undated and unsigned letter distributed among both Horry County Council and the Horry County Legislative Delegation. Several weeks ago, Delegation Chairman Hardwick requested that SLED investigate the nine (9) allegations noted in the letter. To the best of my knowledge, SLED has not indicated what action, if any, has been or will be undertaken.

Today, I have instructed the County Administrator to oversee the completion of an internal county Human Resources investigation of those same issues that apparently was commenced prior to the Delegation's request to SLED. Those findings will be presented to Horry County Council at its next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, October 4, in Executive Session. Thereafter, Council will receive from the Administrator his recommendation as to what steps should follow."

NewsChannel 15 will continue to follow this story