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Horry County looks to hire 15 more officers for planned Carolina Forest precinct

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 5:17 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry County is taking another step toward hiring more police officers.

The Horry County Police Department presented a resolution to the Public Safety Committee on Tuesday to ask for the ability to apply and accept a grant that would help pay for 15 new officers in the force.

HCPD received a grant from the same program, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Grant, in 2020, to support 15 new sworn officers.

“We are currently in recruiting mode for those positions,” said Chief Joseph Hill. “That grant has been absolutely phenomenal in helping us reach our goal for a fifth precinct here in the next three to five years.”

According to a memo from Hill, the 2021 application is also looking to help staff the planned fifth precinct in Carolina Forest.

RELATED COVERAGE: Proposed police precinct brings concerns for some neighbors in Carolina Forest

According to the memo, the COPS Hiring Grant covers up to 75% of the salary and benefits of new career law enforcement officers for a three-year period. The grant stipulates that these positions must be maintained for at least a year after the grant funding ends, meaning Horry County would carry all costs for each position beginning in the fourth year.

The salaries and benefits, combined with overtime, vehicle costs, uniforms and other related expenses, would amount to over $7.45 million in the four-year period. The DOJ grant would cover $1.875 million, with the county’s share more than $5.58 million.

“My next question is to Barry: how do we do this?” Councilman Bill Howard asked.

Assistant Administrator for Administration Barry Spivey told committee members they have a plan to add additional staff within the police department, and the grant could leverage those new positions they are planning for and “allow that money to go even further.”

The resolution asked that the committee recommend it to the county council for approval. Following the short presentation, the Public Safety Committee voted in favor of the resolution.

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