CONWAY — Horry County is getting even closer to having its top two public safety positions permanently filled.
The posting for Horry County Fire Rescue is closed, and the county received 51 applications, said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman, via email on Tuesday.
What isn’t known at this point are their names. The identities of the candidates won’t be known until that number is whittled down to the top three choices.
That leaves it unclear whether interim Chief Kenneth Beans would seek the job on a permanent basis.
However, Beans previously expressed interest in becoming the department’s permanent leader until his retirement in about five years.
Beans was named interim chief April 13 after former chief Garry Alderman announced his request for reassignment because of personal reasons.
There is not a timetable for when the top three candidates will be revealed.
That isn’t the case in the search for the next permanent chief of the Horry County Police Department. The names of the final three were revealed Monday, and the county hopes to announce the new chief in two weeks, Bourcier previously said.
Saundra Rhodes hopes it’s her, as she’s served as the county’s interim chief since late February following the retirement of former chief Johnny Morgan.
“It has been a challenging position. It’s been a very educational position for me,” Rhodes said Tuesday.
Before being named interim chief of police, Rhodes served as a captain in the Horry County Police Department for nearly six years. Transitioning from focusing on just one division to an entire department has been the most challenging part of the job, she added.
Still, Rhodes said the time has served her well, and she hopes to have the opportunity to continue moving the department forward.
She has served in law enforcement since 1993, all in the county, according to her resume. Rhodes also has served as an adjunct professor at Horry Georgetown Technical College since August 2009, teaching classes in crisis intervention, police administration, community-oriented policing and criminal investigations.
Another hopeful is Robert Mason, who is serving as the chief of police for the department in Randolph Township, N.J.
Mason, who has 27 years of experience with the department, said he and his family have been looking to move to the Grand Strand and that’s when he came across the job posting.
“The area of Myrtle Beach is appealing to a lot of people,” Mason said.
If selected for the position, Mason said he’d begin like anyone coming from out-of-state and get a complete understanding of the department and the community, and learn all the ins and outs. Part of that education would come from meeting with citizens groups to learn their concerns, he added.
“I think the citizens of Horry County are the customers of the police department,” Mason said.
According to his resume, Mason has been recognized during the course of his career with the Medal of Honor and the Meritorious Service Award, among others. He also is a certified public manager in the state of New Jersey.
The final candidate is Mark Beach, a 30-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C.
He and his wife own property in Horry County and have sharpened their focus on making the area their long-term home.
Beach said whether working as a police officer in a more setting, or in a huge municipality, the same problems and concerns will be encountered, whether they be break-ins or other public safety issues.
“Our approach to them should be pretty much the same,” Beach said.
One of his primary goals, if selected as the next chief, is about breaking down barriers between police officers and the residents they serve, one household at a time.
“People love the area, but they don’t feel a strong connection yet with the Horry County Police Department,” Beach said.
According to his resume, Beach was the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Tactical Officer of the Year for 1985 and 1986.
Whoever the ultimate pick is, their salary will be between $69,947 and $104,920.
Contact BRAD DICKERSON at 626-0301.