HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The interim police chief for the Horry County Police Department has resigned to take the Interim Police Chief position at the Georgetown Police Department, a county official confirmed. Kelvin Waites has been the interim chief since May 6, 2016, when former Police Chief Saundra Rhodes resigned.
Waites, who lives in Georgetown, will serve as the Police Chief of the Georgetown Police Department, Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus confirmed. His last day at HCPD will be July 1, according to a news release from Horry County. Georgetown Mayor Jack Scoville said Waites is serving as Interim Police Chief.
"Waites spent most of his career working for the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office and the City of Georgetown before coming to Horry County," state Chris Eldridge, Horry County Administrator. "Georgetown is home to him and as such, his wife, Chelice, is currently running for Georgetown County Treasurer. I wish him and his family a successful future, and I appreciate his professionalism and dedication to the police department."
According to the HCPD's website, Waites was responsible for the Uniform Patrol Division at the Horry County Police Department. He started his law enforcement career in 1997 at the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office after serving four years in the United States Army. Horry County Administrator, Chris Eldridge, appointed then-Deputy Chief Kelvin Waites as Interim Chief, according to a news release from the county government. Waites then appointed South Precinct Captain Lance Winburn to serve as Deputy Chief.
Deputy Chief Winburn will serve as interim Police Chief until a new chief is hired. The position is being advertised through July 1.
County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier says previously Windburn was the captain of the south strand precinct and has been with the Horry County Police Department since 1985.
Just days after Rhodes announced her retirement, Horry County Police Deputy Chief of Support Scott Rutherford also announced his retirement from the department.
Bourcier confirmed to WMBF News that Rutherford is retiring on June 6. Rutherford started on the police force on June 4, 1991, and was promoted to Deputy Chief of Support by then-Chief Saundra Rhodes in 2012. He earned a yearly salary of $79,747.20.
Former Horry County Police Chief Rhodes announced on April 25 that she would retire on May 6. On May 9, documents obtained by WMBF News revealed that the county paid over $60,000 into the state's retirement system so that she could retire over a year early.
The change in the HCPD's top position came as individuals in the department are under investigation from larger entities.
Former detective Allen Large, an Horry County employee for more than 27 years, was fired after a 2015 internal investigation revealed sustained allegations of sexual harassment. Three female victims has since filed suit with a local law firm, alleging that Large took them or tried to take them to a videotaped sexual fetish nude "catfights" in North Carolina.
Over 80 cases, many involving rape, child abuse and assault, had to be reopened after an investigation revealed Detective Daryl Williams did not address the cases fully, or addressed the cases inappropriately. A WMBF news investigation last year revealed former detective Daryl Williams left after an internal investigation led to his demotion. In that investigation, we learned Williams never investigated 41 percent of his rape or child abuse cases. One of his 123 victims asked us why he wasn't fired. Chief Rhodes acknowledged a delay in how the case was handled, and said changes were made in the department.
Earlier this year, Rhodes disciplined two more detectives, both on the same day. Records obtained by WMBF News show Rhodes fired Lucas Green and suspended Tim Troxell. Both disciplinary records shared the same incident date from two years ago.
Due to redactions by Horry County in the police records, it is unclear why Troxell was suspended. He's since resigned from the position.
As for the police chief position, Bourcier says the job was posted on June 3rd, and will remain open until July 1st. July 1st is also Waites' last day with the department.
She says the county is looking for a good, strong chief, who will boost morale and pull the agency up.
"We have so many great officers within our department, people that really love this community, and doing a great job and we have had some incidents over the past couple of months that we don't want to overshadow the employees that really are doing an amazing job. So we are really hoping again to have a real positive, strong leader in that police department," Bourcier said.
County Administrator, Chris Eldridge will ultimately hire the new chief. The salary range for the position is $76,411 to $114,616 depending on experience.