Timmonsville town leaders work to update police force

TIMMONSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - The town of Timmonsville is rounding the final corner when it comes to its police force being better funded and equipped for daily service.

"We're taking our time. Myself and Town Administrator Mrs. Bines - we are trying to put together a little plan so that we can be effective in everything we do," said Timmonsville Police Chief Gregory Palmer.

Tuesday is the second day the town has had its police presence active in the town – after a two year absence.

Newly hired Palmer says right now he's taking the time to introduce himself to the public, and get them used to having a police department in the town again.

"I just left the school. I'll be visiting all the businesses. I'm going to try and visit all the churches, basically I'm going to try and do a door-to-door for everybody in the community," Palmer said.

While Palmer gets acquainted with the people of Timmonsville, town council and administrators will continue to tie up a few legalities keeping the police department from getting the green light.

Right now, the town is funding the department with $62,000 set aside from last November. A resolution introduced and passed in March allowed that money to fund the force until the upcoming budget is complete.

When that new budget passes, the department will be allotted right around $190,000.

The town administrator said that's when the police department will see several updates.

"Add more police officers, we again want to work in conjunction with the Sheriff's Office and add more security all through the Sheriff's Office has done a wonderful job," said Town Administrator Mary Bines.

Right now, the town owes the Florence County Sheriff's Office $50,000 for past inmate keep, and plans to pay some of that debt with money out of the pending budget. Administration said some people think because of that debt the town's current chief can't make arrests.

"I'm not sure where it came from that he can't arrest, because the only one to my knowledge that grants arresting powers is the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division," said Bines.

The town is submitting the necessary paperwork to the state which will give the department full police powers.

One final thing hampering the police department is the passing of a final ordinance that will re-instate the town's police force.

The ordinance, paperwork and budget approval are expected to take place within the next couple of months.

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