Police dept. hires to crack down on street crimes

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Horry County Police Department (HCPD) is beefing up patrols to crack down on the everyday crimes happening on the streets.

Pretty soon the department will expand its street crime unit. Department leaders say so far the new team is doing a good job at taking criminals off the street, and they want to keep that momentum going.

"Anytime you can add bodies to your agency, it's a good thing. This is a good unit who already made a difference in the six months already in the six months of existence," said Horry County Police spokesperson, Sgt. Robert Kegler.

HCPD launched the street crime unit six months ago.The team targets problem areas in the county and targets issues like street-level drug sales, gang activity and burglaries. So far the group has made 263 arrests, 91 of them narcotics related.

Last month, officers with the street crimes unit made a major drug bust during a traffic stop, where they seized $1 million worth of cocaine, and county council recently voted to increase funds for the police department.

Police Chief Saundra Rhodes will use that money to add seven new officers to the team, five patrol officers, one sergeant and one corporal. The money will cover new hire salaries, police vehicles and equipment.

Horry County locals like Kenneth Luke support the idea of having more police units on the streets.

"I've got a 19-year-old daughter, and I like things to be safe. I worry enough as it is about her, and it would be a lot nicer if I knew there were more policemen around," explained Luke.

HCPD plans to advertise the new positions later this year and hope to begin the hiring process in early 2014.

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