MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Residents and businesses feel confident in the efforts of the Special Events Summit and are looking forward to a new action plan from local and state law enforcement when it comes to Bikefest.
Your safety is the number one priority for Myrtle Beach police, especially when it comes to big events like Bikefest. Now that the Special Events Summit is wrapped up, the department is going over their notes for a new game plan.
The overall consensus among residents and business owners was that there needs to be more police officers we see in busy areas, like Ocean Boulevard. Several people said the greater the police presence at large events, the safer everyone will be. And that was one of many topics up for discussion at the summit. Some tips from other departments at the summit included, police checkpoints at every intersection and especially in the areas where people enter into the city. They also recommended some police officers patrol on horseback to give an elevated 360-degree view.
"With them being out there, it would be able to have more control," said Myrtle Beach resident Ramona Tidball, agreeing there need to be more officers. "Right now, it's no control and its crazy around here for Memorial Day, but yes, anything would help."
Businesses also agreed that no matter what comes of this summit, there needs to be more control compared to last year.
"The main problem that we had last memorial weekend was just the police presence, I just don't think we had the presence that was needed to control the crowds," said Briggs Dickerson, Peaches Corner GM.
Dickerson says if his employees or customers ever feel unsafe, they're not afraid to close up shop. Safety comes first, but Dickerson says they do not plan on hiring their own security guards for large events. In the city's original safety reaction plan to BikeFest, city leaders encouraged business owners to manage their own properties and hire their own security for the weekend.
"I've always felt like if we need to bring in security to open our doors to serve customers than it's just not worth it," says Dickerson. "I wouldn't want someone to walk past two security guards just to eat a hot dog. So no, we would not consider bringing in extra security for our business."
Coastal Protective Services is a company that provides security and training services for the community. They're already getting inquiries for Memorial Day Weekend, so they're actively pursuing more contracts. But at the summit, some of the leaders from other police departments across the country are warning against this. They say requiring businesses to hire private security can be risky, because it's tough to guarantee they are properly trained.
All in all, everyone seems pleased that Myrtle Beach hosted this summit. Local and state law enforcement agencies are now going over all their notes from the summit in order to come up with a new plan of attack.