MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - There is a new program in the works to put more eyes and ears on major events happening throughout Myrtle Beach. This comes at a perfect time to discuss, with the marathon this weekend and Memorial Day right around the corner.
This new program is in the very early stages. In fact, its so new, there's not even a name for the group yet. Right now, Myrtle Beach police officers are referring to it as an Ambassador Program.
The driving force behind the program is your safety. Ambassadors will act as volunteers to serve as support for police during large events.
When big crowds come in, police have their hands full so volunteers can help alleviate some of those duties. For example, directing a crowd to where a parade starts and finishes.
The role of ambassadors is to put a friendly face on the community, but most importantly be ready to answer questions and provide information to those in need, for both locals and tourists alike.
This group of volunteers will all be dressed the same so they can easily be picked out of a large crowd.
They will be an extra element to making sure large events run more smoothly.
"What we want to do is take that effort for Memorial weekend and also give it the rest of the year," said Lt. Joey Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department. "Whether we have parades, any type of outings at Market Common, we'd ask the ambassadors to be out at those functions so they can give the public the information they're seeking."
The Police department will soon start recruiting new members.One group police will be looking towards for help is the Citizens Police Academy Alumni. That's the group of your neighbors who have gone through a training program to understand how our local police department works.
Church groups are another source lending their help to the program.
Eventually, police will reach out to you. They'll call to action through their new social media page.
The number of ambassadors at each event will depend on the size of the event. So, even if you decide to take part in the efforts, but you're not available for an event, you can be used for others.
The Police Department hopes to have the group in place by Memorial Day weekend, but the job won't end there.
"Part of our operational plan for Memorial Weekend is to educate the public and the business owners but we also realize they need to educate also throughout the whole year because we do have a large variety of events that occur in the City of Myrtle Beach," said Crosby.
This program is meant to gain the public's direct support to keep our streets safe, year-round.
In the coming weeks, police plan to hold business watch meetings, similar to community watch meetings. Officers will sit down with each downtown business, to make sure everyone is on the same page. This includes talking business owners through the traffic loop that's been proposed.
When you add up the new ambassador program, preparing local businesses, skywatch towers, body cameras and the overall greater police presence, leaders at the police department say this preparation and protection hits a new level.