With dozens of positions to fill, Horry County police ramp up re - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

With dozens of positions to fill, Horry County police ramp up recruitment efforts

Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill spoke to the Carolina Forest Civic Association Wednesday night. Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill spoke to the Carolina Forest Civic Association Wednesday night.

From WMBF News partner MyHorryNews.com:

By Charles D. Perry

Horry County police leaders began intensifying their recruitment efforts this week, crafting a marketing campaign that could include billboards and ads in law enforcement magazines.

County council members added 12 positions to the agency in the budget they approved Tuesday night. Nine of those officers will patrol the streets while three will serve in new schools that will open this fall. The department also plans to hire two domestic violence detectives if it can secure a state grant.

Having all those positions to fill — not to mention the 21 vacancies the agency had before creating the new ones — means the HCPD must aggressively get the message out that it’s hiring, Chief Joe Hill said.

“We’re trying to do things different than we’ve done in the past,” he said.

This week, Hill said he’s been trying to secure a contract for digital and print billboards, particularly in high traffic areas such as I-95 and U.S. 17. The department is also posting ads in publications that cater to police.

Turnover has long plagued the department, but Hill said his staff is interviewing 15 candidates for officer jobs and he said as many as 10 of those individuals might be hired. Despite the agency’s struggles to retain officers, Hill said he hopes to bring better news to county council in the coming months.

“Things are starting to happen for us,” he said. “It takes about three months to get people processed. I’m pretty excited.”

When asked about the new patrol positions, Hill said they will be dispersed throughout the county, though he said the middle of the county, including the fast-growing Carolina Forest area, would certainly see some of those officers.

“Probably two,” he said. “That is my biggest growth area right now in the county.”

County council members highlighted the new positions when discussing the $454 million budget that received final approval Tuesday night.

The budget does not include any tax increases, although it does raise fees for certain recreation services, such as the rate for leasing sports fields.

The budget also includes raises for county employees (averaging 3 percent across all departments) and four detention center officers.

“We have been through a long process,” County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus said of the budget planning. “We’ll continue to see a balanced budget with the growth that we’re seeing throughout the county. And hopefully, we’ll be able to continue the increases that we have without increasing our taxes on the citizens of Horry County.”

View the original article on MyHorryNews.com here

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