Law enforcement talks starting a multi-agency criminal intelligence system in Horry County

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – On Monday, Horry County officials were presented with a plan meant to enhance different aspects of public safety.

During the Horry County Public Safety Committee meeting, leaders of the Horry County Police Department and the Horry County Sheriff's Office presented numbers for what it would cost to implement a multi-agency criminal intelligence system, or fusion center.

HCPD Chief Joseph Hill said he and Chief Deputy Tom Fox with the HCSO, along with members of the community violence subcommittee, have been doing a lot of research.

Along with the fusion center are plans for a full-time crime analyst, which they're pegging could cost over $100,000, with both salary and fringe costs included.

The plans also include a COPLINK system, which Hill said will help provide law enforcement with intel from around the country.

According to Hill, around seven or eight local agencies use COPLINK already, so their information would be available too.

In addition, officials are also asking to implement a new community engagement position, which would help bring together local prevention and intervention groups like churches and community grassroots organizations.

"They are communicating in their own circle and some of the folks outside of that circle, if they know who they are," said Hill, "This community coordinator will put those key decision makers and stakeholders in one room, let's say, and communicate the goals and objectives."

Hill stressed this would not be a law enforcement position, but one within Horry County Government if it were approved.

Fox said he and Hill currently attend meetings throughout the week, but in an effort to avoid spreading themselves too thin, they are looking for one person to fill this particular position and focus solely on community outreach to help ensure the job is being done to its full potential.

"If we had one person that did that, that was able to go to these meetings and be our engagement person for the county, do all the outreach with all these organizations, it would serve us better as far as our time," said Fox.

If Horry County Council finds the money and approves the position, Hill said they could find someone to fill the spot by the end of the year.

"We'll keep pushing and we'll try and make it happen," he said.

Fox said they're hoping to present the whole proposal to the Horry County Council in April.

The specific proposals discussed at Monday's meeting are:

Develop and staff a multi-agency Criminal Intelligence System (Fusion Center) for Horry and Georgetown counties

  • Use JAG funding, seized funds and other available grant resources to assist in the initial funding stage
  • Full-time crime analyst: Salary with fringes is $112,000
  • COPLINK system: Detect premium, computer statistics premium and facial recognition - 589 users, three-year term - $103,350 per year
  • User cost can be shared with participating agencies.

Expand the use of vehicle license plate readers and countywide video monitoring that will be filtered through the Fusion Center (Grant resources and/or local appropriations)

  • 14 automatic license plate readers: Two for U.S. 17 S, two for U.S. 17 N, two for U.S. 501 W, and one each for Hwy 701 N, Hwy 701 S, Hwy 378 W, Hwy 9 W, Hwy 907 W, Hwy 410, Hwy 905 N, Hwy 57 N - Total cost is $210,000

Establish a community engagement position to serve on countywide committees as a liaison for Horry County with current crime prevention efforts. (Community violence sub-committee, heroin coalition, etc.)

  • Full-time community outreach coordinator - Salary $40,000 with fringes = $58,464 + vehicle/mileage $40,000 = $98,464

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