NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – With spring break on the horizon, police officers are working with schools and rental companies to prepare for the upcoming seasonal high school break.
North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Chief Phil Webster said the department works closely with schools to find out when spring breaks are expected, and with rental companies to find out just how many students have booked a stay at the beach.
However, the police have a message for parents.
"We'll have parents come into town sometimes, dump the kids in Cherry Grove and they're staying in Myrtle Beach," Webster explained.
He advises parents not to do this.
"If you're renting the house for them, you know a party house, you can. But there is some liability there for you if you're not here to supervise," Webster said.
North Myrtle Beach has an Alcohol Enforcement Team aimed at educating students before there are any issues. However, Webster said it gets to a point where officers have no other choice but to take action.
"A lot of times, something might start off as a loud group and we've warned them about the noise and now we're back again, and again, and again. At some point, you have to draw the line," he said.
Webster explained that when students 17-year-old teenagers and younger have to be taken into custody, the police are tasked with calling their parents.
"We'll have to call in parents, from potentially as far away as Virginia, to come and get their kids. That's certainly a phone call I wouldn't, as a parent, want to get at one, two, three in the morning. But that's happened, that's happened on numerous occasions," Webster added.
While some rental companies say they won't rent to those under 25 years old, Webster said some rent directly to kids. This is why he wants parents to keep in mind that under South Carolina law, those who own the property have a right to act if rules are broken.
"They can actually evict these kids, say, in the middle of the week, which is another thing parents should be aware of. Their kids could have put out thousands of dollars for these houses, and the parents could have contributed to that money. The next thing you know, their kids are out. They can put them out," Webster said.
As seriously as the department takes underage drinking and making justified arrests, Webster wants visitors to know they are welcome. The police just want to keep them safe.
"A lot of times people will have parties in their homes, they'll invite a couple of friends, social media once again kicks in and the next thing you know everybody's piling in somebody's house for a party. And the actual renters are overwhelmed. We let them know that they can call us and we can help them. We're not just here to get you in trouble. We can also help," he said.