HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County has some of the highest number of domestic violence cases in the state, and Horry County Police are working to make those numbers drop. One way they're doing this is by applying for a grant. The department is asking for the go ahead from Horry County Council on Tuesday to apply for that grant.
The department wants to hire two new detectives whose job will be to solely investigate domestic violence cases. These cases are among the hardest to get prosecuted, but Horry County is hoping by hiring the detectives they'll be able to see justice through.
Horry County Police spokeswoman Krystal Dotson said the county's police chief studied other departments and their successes with a team dedicated to domestic violence calls. As it is now, officers are assigned to domestic violence cases as they come in, she said. With the grant, a new division would exist dedicated to these cases.
It's a one-year, state-level grant. The money will come from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety's Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs. The grant is worth over $270,000, and would pay for the detective's salaries, cars, uniforms and overtime. The county is required to contribute a buy-in of over $27,000 if they get the grant.
"What we're doing with these two additional officers would be to allow them to solely work with the solicitor's office, the victim's advocate…so that we can be able to have a more coordinated and streamlined attempt to reduce the numbers that we're seeing in the area. So that goes in to providing more resources to the victim, and being able to focus on the necessary prosecution of the suspects involved," Dotson said.
According to WMBF News partner My Horry News, over 15,000 domestic violence incidents were reported in Horry County between 2009 and 2013. In 2015 alone, over 2,000 incidents were reported. These numbers make Horry County one of the top counties in the state for domestic violence crimes.
Officers responded to a domestic violence call on Burcale Road in the last week. You can read that story here. One person was shot, and one man has been arrested for and charged with attempted murder. Dotson said that case is the perfect example of one the detectives they hope to hire would take over.
The grant is annual. If the department receives the new detectives, they'll ask for the grant each year. However, Dotson said if the county does not allow the department to apply for the grant, or they don't receive it, the HCPD will look to find money in next year's budget to hire the detectives anyway.
Horry County Council will vote Tuesday, Feb. 7 at council meeting.