School board members discuss using HCS as police substations

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – School board members are discussing using Horry County Schools as police substations, a topic chairman Joe Defeo says has been talked about in years past, and the current school board seems to be on board with it.

The school board is in the process of having that discussion, and would like to ask HCS Superintendent Rick Maxey to talk to the different police chiefs in the area about their officers using the district's school buildings as police substations.

Defeo said this could be a better option to help the county save money, which was the original idea behind it when past administration talked about it.

"It's good for our officers, it's good for the students who really think it's a great idea and anti-bullying campaign," said Defeo.

Substations have been put up in places along Ocean Boulevard, and talked about in other areas like Carolina Forest. This would be open to all law enforcement officers, be it city, county or state. "If a sled officer is in town and they'd like to stop by and visit our school, that'd be great," said Defeo.

The school would serve as a place to help the officers get some work done, have a bite to eat, and also talk to the kids.

"They'll have the internet access, we'll provide an office for them," he said. "We were originally just going to put this on business and vote for it, but we really need to have more discussion."

Defeo says the board wants to get a policy going and set up a procedure to help make this happen.

"I don't think it's mandatory that we have to vote on it, but I think it'd be appropriate to get a police and have the board be behind the policy," he said.

In terms of projected costs for inviting officers into schools, Defeo says he's not sure. If all goes well, Defeo says this could take effect immediately after the school board votes on it, which could be within the next month.

Also at the meeting Monday night, Maxey went over the school districts resources for parents and students when it comes to bullying, as well as some posters to promote anti-bullying in schools.

Maxey held up a sample poster, which he said is the elementary school version. He said these will be given to different schools to hang up in the hallways. "There's got to be a feeling among the kids, the students that it's not cool to bully. It's just not the thing to do," Defeo said.

Maxey says the school district wants to be proactive when it comes to bullying and make it clear it's not tolerated in Horry County Schools.

Different options for a 5 year capital funding plan were also presented at the meeting, just for the purpose of discussion. No decisions were made. "I can't answer what we're going to do. I tell a lot of board members when they're first on the school board, 'You and five board members, you can't buy a pencil. You and seven board members, you're pretty much king for a day,'" said Defeo. "So it's going to be up to a majority of the board how we proceed."

To view the options that were presented at the meeting, click here.

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