FOP calls out Horry County Police Department problems - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

FOP calls out Horry County Police Department problems

An organization has called out the Horry County Police Department for problems within. (Source: WMBF News) An organization has called out the Horry County Police Department for problems within. (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Understaffed and underpaid are just a few of the issues one organization said the Horry County Police Department needs to immediately address.

In a social media post this week, the president of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police said he will continue to call out county leaders until the problems within the county's police department are fixed.

"I have received several phone calls from officers working the roads that are members of our lodge voicing their frustrations about the manpower shortages and how much extra they're having to cover because there is not people on the roads," said KC Canterbury, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Coastal Carolina Lodge 12. 

Canterbury said seasoned officers within the department are frustrated and, as a voice for those officers, he is too. The FOP is a organization made of active and retired law enforcement officers. 

He added the department is understaffed, and he believed low salary pay and cuts in benefits contributes to a low morale that impacts the safety of both officers and residents. 

"You have slower response time calls. The number of officers that are supposed to work in a precinct, you don't have those numbers," Canterbury said. "So it is taking them longer to get to each call because they are having to answer so many. It's a major safety issue as well that's because you could have less officers that could come back you up."

Wednesday, Canterbury went to Facebook posting a call to action to the county leaders, including Horry County Administrator Chris Eldridge, saying the organization wants to see a change to fix the problem. 

"We want to address the number of officers that are leaving the department. It's a revolving door. Yes, they are hiring left and right, but you still have all these seasoned officers that are leaving. They are just filling those empty spots," Canterbury said. 

Horry County Councilman Bill Howard said the county continues to work to bring in new officers. 

"This has been an ongoing process for the last year," he said. "Right now, we want to make sure we hire a new chief. The staff has to trust the leader and we want to make sure we have the right leader in place so we can straighten everything out. Let's get a new chief first."  

Currently, the Horry County Police Department has 17 positions open. During the latest effort to hire, department officials said the received 377 applications.

Of that, 57 invitations to take the department's pre-employement exam were sent out. Only 37 attended, and of that number, 22 passed.

Finally, 11 officers were hired.

Fellow council member Paul Prince admitted salary could be a problem. He said the topic could be discussed at the county's next public safety committee meeting next month.

WMBF News reached out to Eldridge for comment, but received no response.

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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