Horry County solicitor to apply for grant to establish Violent Crime Team

HCPD sees fewer murders after record-breaking spike in calls
Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 11:15 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Phones rang off the hook last year at the Horry County Police Department.

The department hit a six-year record with more than 130,000 calls for service. With the call count climbing, the department is doing what it can to keep up.

Police Chief Joe Hill says they had more than 700 applications and added 39 new team members last year.

”We are seeing higher morale than we have seen in the last five and a half years I’ve been here,” said Hill.

Hill is pleased to report that his officers are the happiest they’ve been during his tenure with the county. There is one thing he’s not as happy to report: The increasing number of vehicle break-ins, the department’s fourth-highest call for service in 2021.

“A lot of our guns that are on the streets are the result of theft from motor vehicles,” Hill said. “Campgrounds are notorious for this.”

The department will continue to remind folks to beep before they sleep to get that number down for next year’s annual report.

One number he’s more excited about than most is there were less than half as many murders in 2021 as there were in 2020.

“I don’t know what attributed to the spike in 2020, a lot of folks say it was COVID, who knows, but the significant thing is that number is decreasing, and that’s human lives still on the street,” said Hill.

The solicitor’s office is still feeling the ripple from that spike in murders, however. Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says they have 94 pending murder charges.

He’s looking for a little help cutting through those, so the office plans to apply for a grant to establish a Violent Crime Team, specializing in high-profile cases.

“There are some murders that are just slam dunks, they are very easy, but on those cases past probable cause, but nowhere near beyond a reasonable doubt, it takes a lot of work,” Richardson said. “A violent crimes prosecutor is tasked with doing just that.”

The grant would cover a prosecutor, investigator and assistant for the Violent Crime Team.

The county council has to give the solicitor’s office permission to apply for it, which they will likely decide next week.

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