WMBF Investigates: Why did the North Myrtle Beach City Manager wear a body camera to a community event?

The city confirmed the city manager wore a body camera to a recent event, and WMBF News is asking why.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 7:11 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - We’re working to find out why North Myrtle Beach wore a body camera to a recent community event.

WMBF confirmed with a city spokesperson that city manager Mike Mahaney wore a body camera to the Pepsi Bottling Facility groundbreaking this past Friday. The spokesperson confirmed the body camera belongs to North Myrtle Beach’s Public Safety Department.

Mahaney was first appointed to the city manager position in December 2012.

North Myrtle Beach’s Public Safety Department acquired body cameras in 2016.

There are still several unanswered questions including why he was wearing the camera when he got the camera, and if he plans to wear the camera going forward.

According to the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety Body Worn Camera Policy, which was last updated in 2019, body-worn cameras are assigned to officers primarily in a uniformed capacity in a field assignment.

The policy also states the use of body-worn cameras for any purpose other than in accordance with the policy is prohibited.

WMBF News spoke with Ian Adams, a University of South Carolina professor about the situation. Adams is a former police officer and associate professor in the Criminology and Criminal Justice Department.

Adams says Mahaney might not have to follow the public safety department’s policy.

“It’s not typical I would say, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it. I haven’t seen a lot of policies prohibiting body cameras. Usually, that policy is aimed at officers in the department, when and where they should be activating those cameras, so I’m not aware of anything that would specifically regulate the activities of a city manager,” said Adams.

A spokesperson for the city of North Myrtle Beach issued the following statement: “We routinely enhance safety protocols according to situational circumstances. We do not discuss those kinds of public safety details.”

WMBF News called Mahaney, paid him an in-person visit, and sent him several emails and we have not heard back. We also called the city’s police chief, who answered, but gave us the same comment the city spokesperson gave us.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.