Post Tagged with: "Horry County Public Safety Committee"

Horry County Council and the 2nd Amendment

February 18, 2017 5:00 AM
Horry County Council and the 2nd Amendment

The 2nd Amendment and the issue of firing weapons in close proximity to other people’s residences will again be discussed at the Horry County Council regular meeting Tuesday night.

It’s been nearly five years since Horry County Council decided not to vote on an ordinance that would restrict gun usage on private property in close proximity to residences.

At that time, the ‘Duck Dynasty crowd’, in full camouflage, packed council chambers to protest any restriction on their perceived 2nd Amendment rights with respect to where they could fire their guns in the unincorporated areas of the county.

In the interim, nothing has changed.

It would seem to be a matter of common sense that a person wouldn’t discharge a gun so that the bullets end up in a neighbor’s yard, especially if the neighbor is standing in his yard. But, that doesn’t seem to be the case in Horry County.

As I recall the discussion last time, wasn’t about where the gun was discharged, but, rather, about where the projectile could land that was considered being restricted. And that discussion didn’t even get to first reading of an ordinance.

There is no law in Horry County prohibiting discharge of firearms within a certain proximity of residences, according to county attorney Arrigo Carotti.

This issue has again been brewing in the county for the last year. In the interim:

Council chairman Mark Lazarus said we need to have a discussion (about the problem).

“As the county has grown and more and more housing developments have taken place in the unincorporated areas, protecting your 2nd Amendment rights, protecting hunters and everything else, we need to look and see, we need to protect the people living in their houses also and in the neighborhoods,” Lazarus said.

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Community Violence Subcommittee Report Due Monday

September 23, 2016 5:36 AM
Community Violence Subcommittee Report Due Monday

By Paul Gable
The Horry County Community Violence Subcommittee is scheduled to make an interim report to the Horry County Public Safety Committee Monday on its initial findings regarding violent crimes and drug crimes in our local communities.

Seven months ago, community activists Bennie Swans, Jon Bonsignor and Tim McCray approached Myrtle Beach City Council for help in addressing violence in the community.

They were essentially turned away with Mayor John Rhodes giving his impression of a Donald Trump style ‘gotcha’, blaming the community for the problem, attacking the activists and claiming the focus on community violence would hurt tourism.

The three got a better reception at the Horry County Council level with the establishment of a Community Violence Subcommittee to investigate the problem and make a report including recommendations for ways to counter the rising problems of violent crime and drugs in the communities.

To date, in my opinion, the subcommittee has floundered by becoming involved in a comparison study of minutiae related to Horry County and counties in other states, but, at least, it is doing something.

In the interim, public awareness of an increasing epidemic of heroin use has spurred various citizens to ask both the Public Safety Committee and Horry County Council for help in fighting this problem.

While the heroin epidemic is a big problem, it is not the only one. Gangs, violent crime, lack of economic opportunity and the deaths of too many young people in the community all have their part in the overall picture.

The protocols that are established to combat violence in the community are essentially the same that can help combat the drug epidemic.

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Community Violence Subcommittee Stuck in Neutral

July 24, 2016 5:39 AM
Community Violence Subcommittee Stuck in Neutral

For the last three months, the Horry County Community Violence Subcommittee appears to have been stuck in neutral rather than moving forward to address the problems of violent crime in communities throughout the county.

In its last three meetings, Community Violence Subcommittee members have been discussing collection of data, both demographics and crime, from various websites in order to compare Horry County to counties from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Will this data collection and comparison help?

One assumes what is happening in communities such as Burgess, Poplar, Socastee and Racepath is more important than what is happening in Chatham County, Georgia or Orange County, Florida if the goal is to counter crime and its effects in Horry County.

(If the goal is to complete a report on how Horry County stacks up to other counties in relation to those statistics, then the current work of the subcommittee is on track.)

It would seem that meetings with pastors and other community leaders as well as parents and citizens would yield better information about what the problems are and what the community can do to counter those problems as well as what help it needs from sources such as police and other government agencies.

At one time, Horry County had effective Crimestoppers, D.A.R.E. and community policing programs that have fallen by the wayside in recent years.

The committee is currently scheduled to make a report on its progress at the September 26, 2016, meeting of the Horry County Public Safety Committee. At that time, it plans to present a survey form, presumably developed from its data mining, for citizens, at least in designated high crime areas, to fill out and return.

After receiving the completed survey forms, there seems to be some desire among subcommittee members to meet with citizens and leaders in various communities in the county.

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Committee Guarantees Independent Horry County Police Department

June 27, 2016 10:30 AM
Committee Guarantees Independent Horry County Police Department

In a neatly orchestrated discussion to reach a predetermined conclusion, the Horry County Public Safety Committee determined an independent Horry County Police Department would remain the rule in the county.

Said in a slightly different way, there will be no opportunity for the voters to express themselves through a referendum on whether to merge the police department with the Horry County Sheriff’s Department because council is unwilling to give them the opportunity.

Horry County Attorney Arrigo Carotti told the committee it would require a three reading ordinance of council followed by a binding voter referendum to merge the departments.

Carotti said the ordinance had to be passed by August 15, 2016 in order to appear on the November 2016 general election ballot. Carotti said there was only one meeting of Horry County Council before the August date and special called meetings of council were only intended to address urgent issues between council meetings.

Obviously, there is no urgency on the part of council to allow the voters the opportunity to vote on the issue of a merger.

Carotti said low voter turnout consistent with special elections, the other possible alternative for a referendum, would not give a fair representation of the wishes of voters on the issue.

By that logic, there should not be any primary elections nor special elections for vacant offices because the wishes of the voters are not fairly represented by the 10 percent or less of voters who turn up at the polls to vote in them.

You can see this is not an issue that council is willing to take to the voters and this little dog and pony show was carefully designed to avoid that possibility.

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Countering Gang Activity in Horry County

March 24, 2016 7:02 AM
Countering Gang Activity in Horry County

The Horry County Public Safety Committee heard a report on gang activity within the county from Lynn Baker, HCPD’s gang intelligence specialist.

According to Baker’s report, at least nine of the 19 murders in the county area last year were gang related and gangs are the cause of many of the 88 shooting and more than 1,000 shots fired calls HCPD responded to.

Baker said a number of gangs are already operating in Horry County and they pose a danger to our neighborhoods.

But, it takes more than just police monitoring and response to counter the growth of gangs in the county. Since she was first hired in 2013, Baker has been telling groups throughout the county that gang activity can be countered by efforts within communities.

Public Safety Committee chairman Al Allen understands the need for a community wide effort to counter the growth of illegal gang activity. That is why Allen appointed a special sub-committee co-chaired by Horry County Council member Jimmy Washington and Horry County School Board member Holly Heniford to investigate means to counter violence in communities within the county.

The sub-committee held its organizational meeting last week and, in the coming months, will hold a series of community meetings throughout the county where it will solicit information from local citizens about problems they have with violence in their respective neighborhoods.

The desired end product from these meetings is a report that will provide a broad based blueprint for reducing violence within our communities. The blueprint will include not only police, but also community leaders, organizations and citizens who work together with local officials and agencies to counter the root causes of violence and lawlessness.

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Sub Committee to Reduce Violence in the Community

February 17, 2016 5:05 AM
Sub Committee to Reduce Violence in the Community

(Above Photo Bennie Swans)

Horry County Public Safety Committee Chairman Al Allen appointed a special sub-committee to study ways to reduce violence in Horry County communities.

Allen appointed the committee after a presentation to the Public Safety Committee by local community activist Bennie Swans.

Swans asked the committee to help in establishing a series of community forums open to all citizens where problems, concerns, and eyewitness accounts of violence could be heard as well as discussions about possible solutions to the growing problem of violent personal and property crimes throughout the county.

Swans stressed the high murder rates, especially among young people, that have occurred in the last several years. Swans stressed that this effort was important to help save the lives of our children.

Swans called for a collaborative, coordinated, communicative effort from all segments of the population to help solve the problem. Swans stressed that this was important to help save the lives of our children.

The presentation was essentially the same as the one that drew such a negative response from Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes last week.

Allen, longtime Public Safety Committee chairman for Horry County Council, was much more receptive to Swans’ request and eager to attempt something new to bring citizens to forums where problems and solutions can be discussed openly.

Allen appointed District 3 council member Jimmy Washington as chairman and District 1 school board member Holly Heniford as co-chair. Allen asked for a representative from Horry County Police Department and a representative from J. Reuben Long Detention Center to be included on the sub-committee as well as members of the public.

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Bob Grabowski Suicide

March 31, 2015 6:05 PM
Bob Grabowski Suicide

According to several sources, Horry County Council member Bob Grabowski died from an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound approximately one hour ago.

According to those sources, Grabowski called his brother to tell him of his intentions and gave the contact information for Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes.

Grabowski, who has worked for PTR Industries for approximately one year, took his life in the woods near the plant in Cool Springs Industrial Park.

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Pay to Play Bad Idea in Horry County

February 2, 2015 7:00 AM
Pay to Play Bad Idea in Horry County

The more I think about Horry County Fire Chief Fred Crosby’s proposal regarding private medical transport services, the more astounded I become.

In a proposal to the Horry County Public Safety Committee last week, Crosby advocated forcing private medical transport services operating in the county to enter into franchise agreements with Horry County, pay over $1,000 each for the privilege and be on call to supplement county EMS services as needed.

The franchise payment would be in addition to county business license fees and, according to Crosby’s proposal, the medical transport ambulance services wouldn’t get business licenses if they didn’t sign the franchise agreement.

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Mustang Week 2014 Mayhem

July 21, 2014 7:15 AM
Mustang Week 2014 Mayhem

Another popular rally, Mustang Week in Horry County, has come firmly on the radar of Horry County officials after actions associated with the 2014 gathering.

There were reportedly over 2,500 cars and their owners in the Horry County last week celebrating that most American of automobiles, the Ford Mustang.

However, with popularity of social media and the apparent desire of a number of drivers for their 15 seconds of fame, the event is now under scrutiny by the Horry County Public Safety Committee.

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Al Allen Seeking Third Term in Horry District 11

March 16, 2014 8:00 AM
Al Allen Seeking Third Term in Horry District 11

Incumbent Republican Al Allen is looking forward to continuing service to the interests of the people by seeking his third consecutive term representing Horry County Council District 11.

“I have really enjoyed learning how to help constituents and responding to the concerns of the people,” said Allen. “I receive a large variety of calls from people with concerns about how the government affects them and I have worked hard to build trust that I will represent their interests.”

Allen inherited a contentious issue when he was first elected to council – the Aynor overpass.

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