MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Police Department is gearing up for the 2021 summer season.
During a presentation at Thursday’s monthly Myrtle Beach City Council workshop, officials said the department’s summer plan will start the weekend of March 12.
“As far as the seasonal deployment we’ve worked out a plan this year to maximize the coverage during peak times on the boulevard,” said Special Operations Captain John Bertang.
March 12 is also when the department will begin having an additional 10 officers on Ocean Boulevard.
Starting April 2, agents with the State Law Enforcement Division and other outside agencies will assist with public safety in Myrtle Beach, while troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol will be on Kings Highway for patrols.
“It’s not going to be uncommon on the busier nights, particularly Friday and Saturday nights to have 50-plus officers in and around the boulevard area,” said Bertang.
Officers working the night shift will also begin at 4 p.m. rather than 6 p.m, to better align with activity downtown, and to start working to fix issues earlier.
MBPD says there will also be six to eight new bicycle officers on Ocean Boulevard. Bertang said this is to ensure officers are interacting with the community since they’ll already be out of their cars.
Officers will also travel to businesses along the boulevard and talk about expectations to help ensure a safe summer season.
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune said she’s confident police are prepared and she’s optimistic for the season ahead.
“I think we’re going to have a very good season this summer,” she said. “The hotels are saying bookings are looking really good especially starting in July, and we know our weekends have been very good and the key is for us to be prepared. And not just with having the right number of police deployed, but working with our ambassadors, our gold cap ambassadors, to make sure that everything is clean and working with our homeless community.”
She added that the mask mandate is staying in effect for the time being and said it’s a crucial part of keeping visitors and locals safe.
“The mask order will stay in place indefinitely at this point,” she said.
As the state shifts through vaccine phases, Bethune said she’s hoping the bulk of hospitality workers get their doses before the season really picks up.
“That’s very important so visitors know when they come here our hospitality workers have been vaccinated, and that our hotels, and accommodations and entertainment venues are safe,” she said.