CONWAY, SC- Horry County Police wants to hire more patrol officers, but lacks qualified applicants.
According to Lt. Raul Denis, the department has 28 vacancies.
“It’s the highest we’ve ever had,” he said.
They’re working to fill the positions quickly, but it’s a complicated process.
“There’s a lot of liability,” said Lt. Denis. “You have to be really careful, run good background investigations and things of that nature.”
Applicants that pass screening, must then go through extensive training.
“You’re looking at roughly 28 weeks or so where that individual is not producing, he’s just learning,” explained Lt. Denis.
HCPD would prefer to hire officers that are already certified, so they can start sooner and take the pressure off their current staff.
“It’s very stressful when you should have someone working along side of you and there’s no one there.”
Lt. Denis said officers left the department for various reasons, but the main complaint was about pay. The starting salary for a certified Horry County Police officer is $36,882, less than Coastal Carolina Campus Security and Myrtle Beach Police.
The pay combined with long hours, make for worse than desired working conditions, according to Lt. Denis.
Horry County Police recently added seven new detective positions, which will remain open until they hire more patrol officers.
“If we removed more man power from the streets in order to promote people to detective, it would shut us down on the streets,” he said.
Lt. Denis estimates HCPD spends about $100,000 per officer for training and equipment.