Smart Changes at Horry Police

03/07/2013 4:17 PM

03/08/2013 8:19 PM

Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes, who was just sworn in last September, continues to make an impact on the department she oversees.

In the seven months between when she stepped into the job on an interim basis last February, and in the six months since she dropped the interim from her title, we’ve heard nothing but praise for her efforts at the helm of county law enforcement. Leaders have lauded her efforts to streamline her department and improve efficiency. So it was hardly shocking to read last week that the department has tweaked its organization to provide better service for those in need of the police.

On March 1, the county’s four patrol precincts were realigned to better reflect the volume of calls for police. Before the change, the South Precinct covered not only much of southern Horry County but also much of the Myrtle Beach area. As a result, that single precinct was handling 40 to 50 percent of the call volume.

After working with 911 staff, the department redrew the precinct maps to more evenly distribute calls between the four patrol groups. The result? Faster response time from county officers when you call. That’s an outcome we can all celebrate.

This change hasn’t come overnight. Chief Rhodes was already promoting the idea back in September when she took office. It was a good one then, and remains so today. And it’s encouraging to see a leader who is willing and able to see ideas all the way from conception to implementation.

“One of my goals is to provide more efficient service to the community,” Rhodes said last week in a news release, “which in turn will allow the officers in some of the areas more time to actually follow up on some of the crimes that are occurring in their assigned areas. Right now, many of the officers only have time to respond to a call, take a report and move on to the next call for service; hopefully this realignment of service areas will spread the call volume enough to allow for those follow-ups.”

This realignment seems so logical and smart a change that our only question is why it wasn’t done long ago. Thanks, Chief Rhodes, and keep up the good work.

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