Horry County schools double as police stations

Could your kids' school become a secondary station for police officers?

It could happen under a proposal announced by Horry County school board Chair Joe DeFeo during Monday night's board meeting.

"The police substations is an idea I came up with about four or five years ago," DeFeo said. "The idea was if they needed substations, we have schools. There are rooms in the schools that police could stop by and use as offices."

DeFeo would like for any uniformed officers to use schools as office space to file reports. Officers could use the school's internet and eat the cafeteria food for free.

"We have a lot of food that goes to waste in our cafeterias," he said. "Why don’t we just ask them to come by and eat lunch, or breakfast if we’re serving breakfast. Any time they want, any on-duty officer. It gives more of a police presence in the schools."

DeFeo said that when he was a police officer in New Jersey, his sergeant liked for officers to go to the schools just to talk to the kids to promote communication between the students and law enforcement.

"You wrap this up into one thing, it’s just a great community effort," DeFeo said.

Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill said he had talked with district officials about the idea, but said his officers are "a mobile field force that stays on the road to detect crime and provide visibility.

"We are not able to stay in one location, precinct or anywhere else, that's not our mission," Hill said. "So, having an office in the schools sounds good, but I just need to manage expectations on how an officer would be in those schools. If we still had [school resource officers], then we wouldn't need satellite offices."

Superintendent Rick Maxey was on board with the idea, saying he welcomed officers in the schools.

"We’re excited about that prospect," he said.

Details of the proposal will still have to be worked out and DeFeo said he would like for Maxey to bring a formal proposal back to the full board.

Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian