Atlantic Beach votes against extra police help for 2013 bike rally

Atlantic Beach town council vote

ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) - On Monday night, during a controversial town hall meeting, the Atlantic Beach town council members voted against a resolution that would serve as an agreement between North Myrtle Beach Police and the town of Atlantic Beach.

If the resolution passed, the North Myrtle Beach police would enter the town limits during the May bike rally and assist with any emergencies. The resolution stated the NMB police would not patrol the town during the rally, but assist when called upon. But the majority of the five council members present at the meeting voted against the resolution.

"Basically what we've told them is if they're gonna call on us in an emergency during the festival period, it would be good if we had a mutual aid agreement between the two cities so that we could respond," North Myrtle Beach Public Information Officer Pat Dowling said.

But Mayor Retha Pierce said she questioned the agreement because she thought it would put more liability on the town.

"If nothing is different, if you're still saying you're gonna be available, if you're available because you gotta take care of your own, I don't understand why I'm gonna sign for you to come in," Pierce said. "What is the use of signing a formal document that has questionable parts to it?"

But right now, North Myrtle Beach police will not assist in Atlantic Beach until first contacting Horry County Police. Horry County Police do have the agreement with the town that if the town needs them, the county will respond. If the town passed the resolution Monday night, the NMB police would have answered any calls without first calling for Horry County to assist.

The extra help from NMB would have only been good for the duration of the May bike rally and would not have cost the taxpayers or the town any money.

"Our agreement with them really would be more legal than that - just really legal recognition between both cities that should they need our help during the festival period, we will be able to respond," Dowling said.

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