MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Amid nationwide calls to defund police, Myrtle Beach city council voted unanimously Tuesday to increase the Myrtle Beach Police Department’s budget by $62,000.
The vote was for the second and final reading of the 2020-2021 fiscal year’s budget for the city, which includes the increase in police funding.
They’ve also added 10 new police officers thanks to a grant.
Toward the end of Tuesday’s city council meeting, councilmembers addressed the nationwide calls to defund police, and many of them spoke adamantly against doing that to the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
Councilmembers addressed Police Chief Amy Prock, saying they appreciate the work she and her team does.
Mayor Brenda Bethune said funding police is key to increasing public safety.
“With Myrtle Beach, we are different, because we see so many visitors to the area, so our average daily population is so much higher than our real population,” Bethune said. “We have to police for that. It’s very important that we continue to fund our police department, and this council stays true to our commitment to adding 10 police officers every year.”
City council members also said if any Myrtle Beach Police officers are thinking about quitting or retiring due to many people’s growing disdain for police, they want them to know they have their back.
The budget also includes no property tax increases for residents.
The budget also includes flexibility for council to adjust as need be due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is possible for furloughs, layoffs and pay decreases to happen, so councilmembers said they need the flexibility in case there are more financial troubles for the city due to COVID-19.