North Myrtle Beach moving away from cross-training for police officers, firefighters

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 7:51 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - North Myrtle Beach is moving away from cross-training its firefighters and police officers.

At City Hall Wednesday afternoon, city manager Mike Mahaney explained how they will find better uses for the money previously allotted for cross-training.

Each year, thousands of dollars have been spent on training North Myrtle Beach police officers and firefighters to do each other’s jobs. By ending the cross-training program, city leaders say that money can be used for recruitment and retention.

“Is a good idea and it is for the betterment of our community, and we can take this money that we are spending with cross-training and not using it anymore, and we can hire new officers and new firefighters,” said North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley.

Officials say the average cost of outfitting a trained officer or firefighter costs almost $100,000. Another $500,000 is spent on overtime for the required refresher training needed to maintain dual-role certification.

“You know we will find better uses for that money, than $500,000 worth of overtime trying to keep everyone cross-trained and certified. It just doesn’t work,” said Mahaney.

Both the fire and police departments are excited about this decision as they say it’s been a long time coming as they’ve outgrown the old system.

Officials say with the recent tourism growth, especially over the last two years, that they have enough personnel to let firefighters be firefighters and police officers be police officers.

“Nearly 25 years ago it was necessary,” said North Myrtle Beach Police Chief Tommy Dennis. “It was needed to have that support, but we’ve outgrown it with the amount of personnel we have now, and they’re able to be self-sustaining in their division and as far as us, we as well.”

The Police Department and Fire Department will remain under the banner of the Department of Public Safety.

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