Myrtle Beach makes handling inmates safer - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Myrtle Beach makes handling inmates safer

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Police in one Grand Strand city are using technology to help keep you safe. Myrtle Beach is the latest to bring video conferencing to courtrooms, and police say this will help give better protection.

The video conferencing system allows Myrtle Beach police to keep those they put behind bars, actually behind bars. Now the only thing connecting inmates with a judge and the outside world will be a television screen.

The courtrooms of technology have gone live in other places, like North Myrtle Beach and Conway so officers won't have to go back and forth between the J Reuben Long Detention Center for bond hearings. But Myrtle Beach is also using it closer to home.

The city is now using an internal video conferencing system for bond hearings between their own detention center and the courtroom next door. This keeps officers from having to shackle up prisoners and escort them into public areas, which can especially be a concern after busy weekends at the beach. For example, after days like Memorial Day weekend, there usually is a crowded courtroom.

Police say using the technology really helps when it comes to your safety, especially since they have to move inmates back and forth, twice a day.

"Whenever you move prisoners there's always that slight risk of escaping," said Lieutenant John Bertang. "We take every measure possible to prevent such an escape risk. This is just another way of keeping the inmates in a very secure environment with full detention staff on hand."

Officers tell WMBF News they are excited about this system, because they have seen it work. Since the City of Conway has used video conferencing, the Horry County Sheriffs Office tells me it has cut down the number of prisoner transports to J Reuben by 96 percent in just one year.

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