Atlantic Beach Police plan to identify biker gangs during Memori -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Atlantic Beach Police plan to identify biker gangs during Memorial Day Weekend

ATLANTIC BEACH, SC (WMBF) - With less than two weeks until Memorial Day Weekend, Atlantic Beach Police say they have final plans ready and set.

Atlantic Beach Police Chief Tim Taylor said he feels confident about their plan, and he has some professional, skilled, knowledgeable officers from several South Carolina law enforcement agencies backing him.

He said he recognizes that just because they have a final plan in place now, doesn't mean the plan will not change. "If we see it's not working, we are prepared to rearrange things to make it work," Taylor said.

The chief said he is concentrated on identifying the biker gangs as they roll into Atlantic Beach.

He added, "We know what type of biker gangs, and those are the ones that we're going to be paying closer attention to, those are the ones that we will monitor and keep an eye on."

Taylor said in addition to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and South Carolina Highway Patrol, he will have additional reinforcements.

Chief Joseph Cooper of the Lake City Police Department and Chief Keith Parks of the Estill Police Department in Hampton County will be in Atlantic Beach that to assist in patrolling the event. Taylor said the two will be part of his command staff, they will also bring one officer from their department to help as well. Parks and Cooper have an extensive background in gangs, and will also monitor the biker gangs. 

"We're looking for certain things as they come in, certain bike gangs that we are going to be able to get a hold to, so we can shadow and keep an close eye on them as they come into Atlantic Beach. So we don't have any problems with them," said Taylor, "We're going to let them know what we expect out of them, and we're going to show them respect."

A meeting was held Tuesday morning at the Atlantic Beach Community Center to discuss the safety plans.

"The number one key that I talked about in there was respect, as the people come into the town of Atlantic Beach as law enforcement here, we're going to show them respect and we're going to make them feel welcomed and respected because everyone is someone."

Taylor said over 20 SLED officers will be in designated areas within a four-block radius of Atlantic Beach. Highway Patrol will have 24 troopers patrolling the streets and monitoring traffic during the day and 27 at night.

The town of Atlantic Beach passed an ordinance that all Bikefest activities will shut down at 2 a.m. Taylor said officers will be in place to disperse the crowds as quickly and safely as possible; police presence will be in the area until the area is cleared.  "As the folks clear out the town during that time - 2, 3 o'clock in the morning or whatever time they will decide to leave, at that time the police presence will decrease," he added.

Taylor said he has stressed the importance of how communication and interaction with the Bikefest crowd will help keep tension down. He said, "People want to be respected, and it's all in how you talk to them."

Certain areas in Atlantic Beach will be barricaded off no access will be allowed on certain streets, to keep the flow of traffic going.
Taylor said they will monitor those closed streets to make sure no one will try to enter.

Taylor said two new Atlantic Beach police officers were hired last week, bringing the department including Taylor to three. Taylor said those officers will be working during Memorial Day Weekend.

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