MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach police have been constantly working to prepare a Memorial Day Weekend operational plan for May.
In addition to the weekend traffic loop and controlled congestion discussions, there are other plans in the works just as important. For one, there will be massive efforts to keep pedestrians safe. Police are planning to line Ocean Boulevard from 29th North to 29th South with bike racks or other barricades to keep foot traffic on the designated pedestrian walkways.
Besides funneling pedestrians down the right sidewalks, police are also wanting to make sure visitors are comfortable and happy. Every officer, volunteer, and security worker will be easily identifiable, trained, and equipped to help direct people. They are reinforcing a "Fair Firm and Friendly" message in hopes of building rapport with visitors.
"It's an extension of our community policing philosophy," says Lt. Joey Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department. "We're going to ask everyone that comes to visit our city all year round, come, have fun, be safe, but follow the law. We're not going to tolerate the violence this year. We will reinforce the laws fair, but we're going to be friendly about it. And we're going to be firm."
The department said it will also utilize unarmed security services for the weekend. The City has accepted a bid from Coastal Protective Services for 190 private officers and 14 supervisors. These hired officers will man the barricades to free up our local police officers for higher level tasks. These private security guards will not perform any law enforcement duties.
Police are also adding more manpower at the waterfront, backstreets, and high-traffic areas. And to help with detention services, an additional 40 officers from outside agencies will come in to help with transporting prisoners. That way our Myrtle Beach police officers can focus on other more pressing matters. The police department also sent out requests to 102 local South Carolina agencies and 35 other agencies in Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida. So far, 24 other agencies have agreed to assist.
Adding to their safety efforts, the police department is making sure they have all the right equipment to carry out their plans. So they've purchased everything from pedestrian barricades, four LED message boards, the Skywatch Tower, and police body-cams. One of the biggest investments they're looking to make is to upgrade the city's surveillance camera system. The department has identified 200 possible locations based on previous criminal activity and traffic offenses. The department is still working on a final proposal for how many and the placement of those surveillance cameras.
"The cameras are another little small piece of our Operational Plan for Memorial Weekend. And it's not going to be just for Memorial Weekend. It's going to be put into use all year round to enhance our safety across the city," says Lt. Crosby.
Click here for more information on the department's Operational Plan.