The town is without its own police protection again.
Mayor-elect Jake Evans said Monday he learned Sunday that Chief Mike Bordner had left because the town wasn’t able to pay him.
“I find that very disturbing because … we’ve found money to hire a town prosecutor, we’ve got two judges but the No. 1 thing we’re supposed to have in this town – police coverage – we have no money. That’s a joke. What are we paying a prosecutor and judges and an attorney for if we don’t have police?”
Bordner had been the sole remaining police officer in the town. One officer resigned and one was injured on the job and learned there was no workman’s compensation, said Evans.
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Mayor Retha Pierce said earlier she hoped to learn more about the situation during Monday’s Town Council meeting, but that she had a message on her answering machine letting her know there was no police chief.
But Monday’s meeting was adjourned before it started.
Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn Cole said the format of the agenda was incorrect, and moved the meeting be adjourned. Additionally, she said Pierce wanted to add items to the agenda, but “the law does not allow us to change the agenda once we have published the agenda.”
Evans said he’s worried about the lack of a police force.
“I’m gravely concerned,” said Evans, who defeated Pierce 84-5 in a special election in May. Pierce has appealed a judge’s order affirming those results and so remains in office as the appeal works its way through the courts.
“A year ago we didn’t have this to worry about,” he said. “We had officers in place. They got the drugs and prostitutes off the streets. Now the police protection is let go and all this activity is back in Atlantic Beach again.”
Evans said he assumed there would be help from the county.
Horry County police Sgt. Robert Kegler said Monday he wasn’t aware of an increase in patrols to Atlantic Beach.
Evans isn’t sure how the town will move forward to replace the police force.
“That [police] holds the municipality together,” he said. “If you can’t provide police protection for your citizens, then you have no town.”