Locals form group to support, help Myrtle Beach police

Locals form group to support, help Myrtle Beach police
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Our police officers put their lives on the line every day for our safety. A new organization is out there to give us a better understanding of what our officers are going through and how we can help.

The Myrtle Beach Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association was formed after hundreds of people just like you, got the chance to see what our officers are dealing with out on the streets, through the Citizens Police Academy.

“I learned a heck of a lot going on the officers and seeing how they handled different situations and that to me I really got a glimpse behind the badge,” said MBCPAAA President Barbara Prescop.

After getting involved, Ms. Prescop wanted to stay involved, so she started the MBCPAAA.

This group is more than just about education, they're jumping into action.

The members are planning to feed more than 100 officers working on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The alumni association is collecting food, supplies and money to put together Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. They will cook, hand deliver and serve these meals on the holidays. You or your business can donate your time, goods or money.

In addition, the newly-organized team will help in missing person searches and with training exercises. For example, if a gunman were to take over a tourist bus, practicing this scenario would better prepare our officers. The 30 Alumni members would help by packing out a bus so police can get a more hands on experience.

For events like Bike Week, the alumni group can also add extra assistance when needed.

It's these efforts which police say make a huge difference in improving our area.

"They can be our biggest tools to use to help with the crime problem, solving incidents that have occurred and preventing crime which is one of our main goals, getting crime prevented before it does happen,” said Myrtle Beach Police Lt. Tommy Chestnut.

If you want to help police crack down on crime with the alumni association, you have to go through the Citizen's Police Academy first.

Hundreds of locals have completed the Citizens Police Academy since it was started more than 10 years ago, but now they're looking for even more people to get involved.

The Citizen's Police Academy is a class that meets once a week for ten weeks. It's a chance to work with all different departments from the gang enforcement unit to the traffic division. Students get to learn about topics such as crime scene investigation, gun safety, and crime prevention. You can even experience a ride along with police.

One woman chose to join after she was a victim of a crime, she calls the classes an invaluable and life changing experience.

From learning how to spot a suspicious car in her neighborhood, or recognizing a gang, Meche Williams says being involved in the academy has strengthened her sense of safety.

"This is our community, its gonna be what we make it and the police department is supporting us but who's supporting them?” says Williams. “It's our opportunity to give back to a department that's giving to us on a daily basis.”

If you want to get involved, the next class is coming up in January.  Applications should be available mid-November or early-December.  Anyone living in Horry County ages 21 and older can apply.

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