Local organization working to forge a connection between the community and cops

Local organization forging a connection between the community and cops (WPDE)

The Grand Strand Community Law Enforcement Appreciation Committee is working to bridge the gap between the community and local police officers.

On Thursday, community activists, local leaders, and police officers gathered to discuss upcoming events and talk about the importance of connecting the community, kids and cops.

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Community activist Bennie Swans said, with the recent shootings, it's even more important that everyone comes together.

"Whenever there's been an incident of community gun violence, I stand out and I stand up to say, 'We've got to talk about it, we can do something about it.' Not talking about it doesn't solve problems," he said.

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The Director of Public Safety for North Myrtle Beach, Jay Fernandez, said it's critical that the community and police work together.

"We have to have partnerships with the community. And, partnerships actually put extra eyes on the street for us, so they can see things and they can call us and know that we will respond for them," Fernandez said.

It's takes a collaborative effort to keep crime off the streets, he said.

"We simply cannot be in every place, every day, all the time. It’s just impossible but, with those relationships, we can get those calls," Fernandez said.

Building good relationships is vital to the survival of the community, Swans said.

"I think anytime police officers can walk down the street and be greeted with a smile, with a hand shake, that reaffirms that we believe in them and they believe in the community. Then we’re headed in the right direction," he said.

The committee is hosting its annual Community Law Enforcement Appreciation Committee Dinner on April 27 at The Pine Lakes Country Club.

Outstanding members of the law enforcement community will be receiving recognition awards at the event.

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