MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Police Department has a new tool to help them combat drug problems in the city.
The department has started using new software that tracks overdoses and even potential drug dealers.
Not only does the department have a new overdose mapping program, but it also has a new intelligence unit. That new unit is using the map to cut down on the drug deals in the city.
“Right now, the primary focus with all the overdoses, this has been extremely helpful," said Myrtle Beach Police Detective Bryan Stillwell.
Stillwell started a new chapter in his 28-year law enforcement career about six months ago when Myrtle Beach police created an intelligence unit.
That unit uses new technology to help street crimes, investigation and patrol units with a variety of different crimes.
About the same time the unit was created, the department gained access to the Overdose Detection Mapping Application or ODMAP.
“It helps us show a hot spot area where a lot of [overdoses] are occurring, so that way once my unit gathers the intelligence, we can put it into that database," said Stillwell. "Then, we can put it into an intelligence report which we pass along to street crimes to put into an actual enforcement plan.”
When police respond to an overdose, the location and type of overdose are logged into the system. The map tracks whether or not naloxone was used during the overdose, and whether or not the overdose was fatal. And it only records age and gender, so no personal information gets uploaded to the software.
One undercover officer explained how the street crimes unit uses the information.
“We’re looking for patterns. Are they all happening in the same area? Time of day? It just helps us dig a little deeper with these overdoses, and it points us where we need to put our resources," said the street crimes unit officer.
He said they use those patterns to locate potential drug dealers, which is ultimately the main purpose of the ODMAP.
“Our overdoses, obviously, they’re being supplied by somebody, and that’s our ultimate goal is to reduce fatalities and the overdoses that are occurring," said the street crimes unit officer.
The police department has essentially been on a trial run with the software for the past few months.
But recently the city council voted to enter into a five-year partnership with the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which invented the software, so the police department can continue using and developing the map.