Local law enforcement responds to Dallas shooting, Saturday rall - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Local law enforcement responds to Dallas shooting, Saturday rally

Protestors will rally in Plyer Park along Ocean Boulevard in response to the Dallas tragedy and other officer-involved shooting. (Source: Ruby Durham) Protestors will rally in Plyer Park along Ocean Boulevard in response to the Dallas tragedy and other officer-involved shooting. (Source: Ruby Durham)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Local law enforcement spoke out about their concerns following the tragedy in Dallas and the officer-involved shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana.

For many officials, the police shootings and the social media-fueled protests that followed have been something like a disaster.

When local police notice their own community feeling upset or angered, officers want to assure people they are here to build trust so what happened in Dallas will not happen locally.

Police said the first priority is to improve relationships with the community, as officials are focusing on interactions rather than reactions.

While the Myrtle Beach Police Department posted a letter on Facebook thanking people for the overflow of support they've been shown, with emails and flowers in light of the Dallas tragedy, the department wants the community to know that all officers are saddened by the crisis.

Out of caution, they will continue to step up patrols and make sure public events are monitored.

"We will continue to monitor this situation in Dallas as how it may or may not affect us here in our area,” Myrtle Beach Police Lt. Crosby said. “We will continue to have meetings and discussions to discuss practices and protocols as it relates to the deployment of officers or resources and things such as that."

The Horry County Police Department did not want to comment, but Conway’s captain of police said they too will continue to discuss concerns and safety measures with community leaders in hopes to prevent situations like the one in Dallas.

Locally, there are plans to hold a Black Lives Matter rally at Plyler Park in Myrtle Beach. The event will focus on the officer-involved shootings that killed black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, and also on the tragedy in Dallas where five officers were killed after a sniper opened fire at a protest rally.

Rally organizers said they don’t want to cause violence or raise tension in the community; they simply want to express sadness and solidarity.

"This is something that has to be done. We rarely do it, but now is the time. If it's not done now, then it's never going to be done," said Jerry Hills, a concerned protester.

Thousands of miles away from Minnesota, Dallas and Louisiana, communities are either angry or on edge.

"People are tired," Hills said. "There's people who's not trying to hear this no more."

Hills plans to take part in Myrtle Beach’s Black Lives Matter rally. He said although the shootings were hard to watch, it should be a wake-up call for everyone in the local community, no matter their race.

"Now is the time," he said. "If they don't listen now, then repercussions will be taken later on. I'm sorry to say that, but it is what it is. It's just getting worse right now, so we want everyone - youth, parents, everyone - to come through." 

Organizers and people who are going to attend said they just want their voice to be heard. Hills said the protest will be heartfelt and passionate, but largely about peace.

"If we don't reach everyone there, there will be at least two or three or five out of the group that will get the message," he said. "Somebody will listen, somebody will take head. It will work some way, form or fashion." 

Police encouraged citizens to gather and participate, but asked they do so peacefully. Crosby said resources will be on-hand to monitor the situation and address any issue that may arise.

The protest begins at 7 p.m., Saturday.

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