A new police chief and concerns over violent crimes have spurred swift and dramatic changes in how the City of Myrtle Beach will enhance their law enforcement efforts, prevent crime and even how they hope to open lines of communication with Myrtle Beach residents. These changes were the topic of discussion during five community outreach programs that the Myrtle Beach Police Department (MBPD) hosted throughout the month of September.
At the opening of each meeting, Chief Amy Prock shared the department’s mission and vision and explained how these statements are at the forefront of changing policies, procedures and their evolving plans to protect Myrtle Beach residents and visitors through innovative policing methods and programs.
“We, the men and women of the Myrtle Beach Police Department, are committed to enhancing the quality of life through community partnerships, and public safety – while preserving the peace, and protecting the Constitutional and Civil Rights of the those we serve.”
“Community Partnership is how we make change,” said Prock.
Prock, and the many commanding officers that spoke, encouraged Myrtle Beach residents and the business community to become partners in preventing crime by simply opening lines of communication. Captain Joey Crosby encouraged residents to not be shy about picking up the phone and reporting any suspicious activity. “If you are concerned, we are concerned that you are concerned. The sooner we know of suspicious activity, the more likely we will be able to prevent a potential crime or apprehend a suspect,” said Crosby.
Crosby also encouraged residents to utilize the department’s Facebook page to receive communication from the department and to share information with the department. Crosby pointed out that as times have changed, so has the department’s method of communicating. “You will read or hear from me on our Facebook page pretty much every day, whether it’s traffic advisories, hurricane preparedness or if we are asking for your help finding a suspect,” said Crosby.
Officers also discussed other opportunities for community involvement, including Neighborhood Watch, Citizens Police Academy, or going for a ride-a-long with a patrol officer.
Intelligence Led Policing
In terms of evolving policies and procedures, Prock explained that several initiatives have already begun, while other plans require additional research before implementation. For example, the department plans on hiring two staff members to monitor street cameras during peak periods – providing “Real Time Crime Prevention.”
“Knowing when and where crimes occur is key to determining manpower. We have assessed our patrol zones, identified power shifts, and deployed saturation patrols according to the intel driven from crime analysis,” said Prock.
Funding The Future
As Prock pointed out, the Myrtle Beach law enforcement community reaches far beyond the city limits. With additional funding approved by the City Council, assisting agencies such as the Horry County Sherriff’s Department and SC Highway Patrol have worked with MBPD to conduct saturation patrols during key periods and locations.
Of course manpower and recruitment is key to the department’s future success and will require additional funding. The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (MBACC) is working to redirect advertising funds to law enforcement, as they did after the shootings during Memorial Day weekend in 2014. “We will do the same to help boost police presence year-round. While advertising is important, there’s no better investment we can make in our community than public safety,” said Brad Dean, President and CEO of MBACC.