Former Georgetown police chief to head Myrtle Beach’s diversity office

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 7:12 AM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – A military veteran and former police chief has been tapped to lead Myrtle Beach’s diversity office.

The city of Myrtle Beach on Tuesday announced Kelvin Waites will serve as the director of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). He said if he can bring people to work together, the city will be able to accomplish so much more in the future.

“We’re stronger together, we get so much done, we all have individual talents, and we do a great job of doing what we’re doing on an everyday basis. Just imagine if we could all get on the same page,” said Waites.

Officials said Waites has more than 24 years of law enforcement experience in Horry and Georgetown counties, culminating as chief of the Georgetown Police Department. He also served four years in the U.S. Army.

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“Kelvin’s impressive record of community service and professional experience made him the standout candidate,” said City Manager Jonathan “Fox” Simons, Jr. “He has dynamic communication and leadership skills, a passion for collaboration and organizational management expertise that make him an asset to the city and our staff.”

Waites said his past experiences with crisis will help him bring change to the community. Change that city officials say is years in the making.

With dozens of departments scattered among different city buildings and more than 1000 staff members, City of Myrtle Beach Spokesperson Mark Kruea said the city wants to make sure everyone feels like they belong.

“We think of ourselves as a big family, and the whole community too for that matter, but it’s tough to have that sense of belonging, so we need to consciously make decisions and choices that will achieve that and that’s one of the things Kelvin will be here to do,” said Kruea.

The new position was approved and funded in the city’s fiscal year 2021-22 budget, effective July 1, 2021.

According to the city, the director will work with city leaders to develop the strategy and action plan needed to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion goals and then drive the city to successfully implement that plan.

The director also will promote best practices in equity and assist with the city’s long-term transformational change.

Waites said his main goal is engaging the community. He said it’s not just engaging with people who work for the city, but he wants everyone’s individual voices to be heard.

“I’m going to make a difference just one day at a time, one day at a time, engaging the community, getting to know the community, getting to know our workforce, and making them feel like they have value and they’re important and that they have a voice,” said Waites.

Waites said he’s excited to be part of this team and to get to know the community.

“I’m excited about working with staff and getting to know everyone here at the City of Myrtle Beach,” Waites said of his new post. “We want to reflect the community that we serve and build a sense of belonging and mutual support. Celebrating our diversity, fostering equity and seeking inclusion in the conversation are desirable goals.”

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