Gangs, traffic issues discussed during public safety committee meeting

Gangs, traffic issues discussed during public safety committee meeting

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County is making some progress on combating gangs thanks to the gang task force.

Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes discussed the task force, which was formed in September, with the Horry County Public Safety Committee Monday morning.

"So far they've been really successful," HCPD Lt. Raul Denis said. "We had a successful drug bust last week. There have been other busts, pretty significant ones recently."

10 detectives make up the task force, of which four are from the Horry County Police Department, four are from the Myrtle Beach Police Department and two are federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The task force helped indict 10 people for gang-related activity involving drugs and guns. 14 more await indictment, Lt. Denis said.

Horry County Police can't reveal exactly what the detectives on the task force do on a daily basis.

"Those operations are mostly undercover and we guard those techniques," Lt. Denis said.

Elizabeth Bowens, the president of Mothers Against Violence, said she believes the task force is making a difference.

"I know their load is heavy. I know they have a great task on their hands," she said. "I know they do, but they do get the job done."

Chief Rhodes also discussed traffic concerns at Carolina Forest High School during Monday's committee meeting.

Lt. Denis said students were reportedly driving through fields or areas not intended for cars to try to get around the overflow of traffic during dismissal from the high school.

He said the department now sends several officers to monitor the traffic in conjunction with South Carolina Highway Patrol.

School Board Chairman Joe DeFeo said the district is aware of the traffic problems and will look at possible solutions, although he said it's ultimately up to Horry County to decide.

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