WMBF Investigates: Law enforcement presence at local churches - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

WMBF Investigates: Law enforcement presence at local churches

(Source: AP Graphics) (Source: AP Graphics)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Following the tragic shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas that left 26 people dead, the WMBF News Investigates team reached out to several local law enforcement agencies to find out if their officers provide security at local churches.

The Horry County Police Department currently provides off-duty security at two churches in the county, according to spokeswoman Krystal Dotson. Their service are paid for by the church.

Captain Joey Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department said that off-duty MBPD officers work security at two churches on Sunday mornings, and that the church does pay for this service.

While no Conway Police officers are currently hired to provide security at churches in Conway city limits, department spokeswoman Lt. Selena Small said: “At our agency every day our officers have certain directive patrols they are given to focus on. On Sundays officers add the churches to their directive patrols when services are going on and regularly patrol them.”

At this time, the Surfside Beach Police Department does not provide any on-duty or off-duty security at local churches on Sundays, according to Chief of Police Kenneth Hofmann.

The public information officer for the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office is not aware of any deputies working security at area churches.

The Florence Police Department coordinated secondary, off duty employment with businesses, community groups and churches in the city limits, according to Lt. Mike Brandy. The department does not track exact numbers of officers working security for churches. The number of jobs and officers contracted by Florence businesses and churches is fluid, Lt. Brandt said.

The Florence County Sheriff's Office has about 20 deputies who provide services to local churches of all denominations in all parts of the county, according to Kathleen Streett. The services, which are both paid by the churches and done on an unpaid/voluntary basis, range from traffic control to parking lot monitoring to full-blown interior and exterior operations, by both plain clothes and uniformed deputies. There are a number of deputies who have also participated in private details started by different churches over the past several years, on their own time and at their own expense.

The Darlington County Sheriff's Office said that they do not currently have any deputies working on or off-duty at a place of worship, but one does wish to have a deputy provide security, they may employee an off-duty deputy.

In addition, Darlington County Sheriff Tony Chavis announced that he will meet with religious leaders of all faiths in Darlington County to discuss security for places of worship.

"Due to the recent deadly shooting at a Texas church and Mother Emanuel AME Church still fresh in my heart, I feel it necessary to meet with church leaders to discuss security and services we can provide," Sheriff Chavis stated.

The meeting will be held on November 20 at 6 p.m. at Darlington Middle School, 150 Pinedale Dr. Religious leaders of all faiths and from all areas of the county are encouraged to attend.

Several local churches also contract with private security companies to provide security officers during services, as WMBF News reporter Max McGee learned Monday.

"Because of Charleston, we started putting security measures in place," said Pastor Jamie Barfield of Palmetto Pointe Church of God. "Talking to former policemen and we have a few in our church that have really stepped up, really taken control of our security team."

Read the full story here:

WMBF News will update this story with additional information from local law enforcement agencies as it is made available. 

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLocalMore>>

  • Four people stabbed Sunday evening near Johnsonville

    Four people stabbed Sunday evening near Johnsonville

    Sunday, June 24 2018 9:09 PM EDT2018-06-25 01:09:48 GMT
    Source: Raycom MediaSource: Raycom Media
    Source: Raycom MediaSource: Raycom Media
    FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Four people were stabbed near Bartell's Landing and Position Corner Sunday evening according to Florence County Major Michael Nunn.  Nunn says the incident happened shortly after 6 p.m. on Sunday. The victims were rushed to an area hospital. There is no update on their conditions at this time.  Nunn also says there is a suspect in custody but their identification is being withheld as the investigation is ongoing.  WMBF will continue to up...More >>
    FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Four people were stabbed near Bartell's Landing and Position Corner Sunday evening according to Florence County Major Michael Nunn.  Nunn says the incident happened shortly after 6 p.m. on Sunday. The victims were rushed to an area hospital. There is no update on their conditions at this time.  Nunn also says there is a suspect in custody but their identification is being withheld as the investigation is ongoing.  WMBF will continue to up...More >>
  • Residents along Hwy. 701 want cars to slow down after dog killed by speeder

    Residents along Hwy. 701 want cars to slow down after dog killed by speeder

    Sunday, June 24 2018 7:08 PM EDT2018-06-24 23:08:32 GMT
    Currently the speed limit in this area is 45 mph (Source: WMBF News)Currently the speed limit in this area is 45 mph (Source: WMBF News)

    HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -- Several residents living along Highway 701 North are grieving following the death of a four legged hero named “Big Boy”. Neighbors, as well as the dog’s owner are now trying to spread the message to drivers along this busy road way. Those living along the road say speeding is a major issue where they live.l Last Friday, one driver lost control of their car nearly hitting a mother and her son and killing a beloved neighborhood dog. Now t...

    More >>

    HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -- Several residents living along Highway 701 North are grieving following the death of a four legged hero named “Big Boy”. Neighbors, as well as the dog’s owner are now trying to spread the message to drivers along this busy road way. Those living along the road say speeding is a major issue where they live.l Last Friday, one driver lost control of their car nearly hitting a mother and her son and killing a beloved neighborhood dog. Now t...

    More >>
  • Four people shot late Saturday night in Robeson County

    Four people shot late Saturday night in Robeson County

    Sunday, June 24 2018 3:40 PM EDT2018-06-24 19:40:18 GMT
    (Source: Raycom Media)(Source: Raycom Media)

    ROBESON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Four people were shot — and one seriously injured — following an argument near the Sundew gas station in Robeson County late Saturday night, according to Chief Kenneth Sealey. The incident happened around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. All persons were sent to the hospital and treated for their injuries. Sealey says their is a person of interest but the investigation is still ongoing. Copyright 2018. WMBF News. All rights reserved. 

    More >>

    ROBESON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Four people were shot — and one seriously injured — following an argument near the Sundew gas station in Robeson County late Saturday night, according to Chief Kenneth Sealey. The incident happened around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday. All persons were sent to the hospital and treated for their injuries. Sealey says their is a person of interest but the investigation is still ongoing. Copyright 2018. WMBF News. All rights reserved. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly