Horry County Police Department hopes newly hired PIO will help with transparency in department

CONWAY, SC (WBTW)- The past for the Horry County Police department is no secret. In 2016, the agency faced lawsuits claiming negligence, failure to properly investigate, and indictments of several high-ranking officers in the agency, but new leadership has prompted change.

We’ve told you the Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill has big plans for the department in 2017 by working to increase transparency in the department.

Hill says he’s hoping that increase in transparency will start with their newly hired Public Information Officer, Krystal Dotson.

“We have had some stories that may not have shed the best light on the department. So, I’m taking it upon myself to do the best that I can to begin changing that narrative, and it starts with transparency,” said Dotson.

Dotson will start her new role on Monday, meaning all information about the department will come from her.

“For me, that means making sure that the department as a whole is transparent, the information that is shared is accurate and is released in a timely manner. Those are three principals that I value and that I can guarantee are going to be at the forefront of my mind every day in this position,” said Dotson.

Dotson is from the area and says she cares about the people in the county and wants to help bridge the gap between the department and the community.

“I want to hear what’s going on in their community so I can then translate that back to the department so we can then make sure that we get those concerns addressed,” said Dotson.

Hill says change was needed and that on top of her duties as PIO, Dotson will also work with community outreach programs like the Citizen’s Police Academy that the department plans to roll out this year.

“We want someone who is articulate, someone who doesn’t wear the uniform and is that balance of information that comes out. So, yeah, it’s something different. This is a best practice model across the country, and that’s what we’re gearing our department on is best practices in our profession,” said Hill.

Dotson previously worked with the Myrtle Beach Police Department alongside its public information officer, and she hopes to use that experience as she transitions into her new role with the Horry County Police Department.