Myrtle Beach seeks long-term solutions to violence while paying for outside help

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – As Governor Henry McMaster sends additional officers to Myrtle Beach this weekend, News13 is looking into who will pay for those officers to work the extra hours and what long-term plans the city is putting in place to combat the violence.

On June 22nd,  Lt. Joey Crosby with Myrtle Beach Police announced the police presence in the city would look a lot more like it does during Memorial Day weekend through the end of the summer. Crosby says a majority of the money to pay those officers will come from the city of Myrtle Beach.

He says the additional officers will come from Highway Patrol, SLED, and surrounding local agencies, and they’ll be paid per diem by the city, just like they are during Memorial Day weekend.

The city could not say exactly how much that would cost in total, but the additional officers are a short-term solution.

“We’re not really a normal town. We’re a thirty thousand permanent population. Half the year, we have 100, 200, 300,000 people here. It’s not right to expect the local residents to pay for the additional support for all of those visitors who come here. So, finding a good funding source really is one of the challenges,” said City Spokesperson Mark Kruea.

Kruea says the city is also looking at other options along Ocean Boulevard.

“We’ve talked about adding some digital message boards, some smaller ones that would indicate ‘hey, you’re on surveillance camera’ but also share some other messages about what you can and cannot do and maybe even some events down there,” said Kruea.

In Tuesday’s city council meeting, the city manager said they were looking at ways to recruit new officers. News13 asked if increasing pay for current and potential officers could be part of the long-term plan to gain officers in the city.

“Absolutely. We need to be able to pay folks because we ask a lot of them. We need to be able to pay them very well. A starting police officer after they go through the criminal justice academy starts at about $39k. So, for a young person who’s 21, that’s fairly good money here in South Carolina,” said Kruea.

Crosby says the city is looking to pay about $50 per diem per officer that comes the city to assist, and any overtime money would come from the respective agencies.

Crosby says the officers will be paid of money that was set aside by the city back around Easter when council leaders asked for a stronger police presence along Ocean Boulevard.