HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - There's a county shortage of the people who work to help you should you find yourself a victim in a criminal case. The sheriff's office is working to boost those numbers and further help the people of Horry County.
"Over 400 victims a month come through our victim's advocates office," Sgt. Timmy Tyner, the Horry County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said. "You know, that's for four people to handle...so if you do the math that's simply one hundred per person at a minimum...so just adding to that to provide better services, and to provide quality service...and that's what we desire. So as we grow we want to add to that, and this grant is going to help us do that," Sgt. Tyner continued.
There are three victim's advocates for the Horry County Sheriff's Office and one supervisor, Sgt. Tyner said. The department's grant request through the state was approved, and the hope is to add a fourth victim's advocate by May or June.
The department lost a victim's advocate a few years ago because of budget cuts, but this grant will be covering 80 percent of the new hire's cost. Sgt. Tyner explained victim's advocates play an important role in the justice system. He said all are employed through the sheriff at J. Reuben Long Detention Center, and each advocate is responsible for every inmate coming in and their victims. The victim's advocates office operates 24/7, and each advocate is present at bond court for their clients.
Sgt. Tyner said an important role of the advocate is to notify a victim if an inmate bonds out or has an upcoming release.
"The thing is they're represented in bond court if they desire to...and then also if they need to, um, if that inmate were to bond out, the victim's advocate is responsible for contacting that victim to let them know they've left our facility," he said.
As the Horry County population grows, more victim's advocates are needed. As it is now, even four is stretching resources to accommodate the numbers of victims.