When the Horry County school board voted Monday not to pay Horry County for 21 school resource officers, it freed up some of those officers to patrol other parts of the county, including Carolina Forest.
Horry County police north precinct commander Capt. Bob Carr said only two officers patrol the Carolina Forest area, which for his department includes north of Highway 501 between Coastal Carolina University and International Drive.
“They’re not going to be in the schools now so we’re hoping to use them in Carolina Forest and all throughout the county actually, because all precincts are short on people right now,” Carr said Wednesday after a meeting of the Carolina Forest Civic Association.
Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill said in a statement released Wednesday that although he was disappointed in the school board’s decision to take the SROs out of school, he would instead use some of them for crime-fighting efforts.
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“The reassignment of the SROs is forthcoming, but our plan is to use these officers in a patrol and community engagement capacity,” he said.
Horry County Police spokeswoman Krystal Dotson said the department was developing a plan but was not ready to release details.
Carolina Forest Civic Association President Carole van Sickler said the area needed more officers.
“The response times are still long,” she said. “Chief Hill says they’ve improved, but I don’t know what that means. I don’t know the details.”
Carr said the department strives for quick response times but that the department has been short on officers.
“I would like to think we get to them as quickly as possible but time is hard to tell right now with the shortage of people we have,” Carr said. “But with the additional people coming out, I’d like to think we’d get there easily within 10 minutes and less time than that if it’s a 911 call.”