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North Myrtle Beach has a new police chief with three decades of experience in Florida

North Myrtle Beach public safety officials line Hwy. 17 Business in North Myrtle Beach with signs indicating evacuation routes in advance of Hurricane Matthew’s effects Thursday.
North Myrtle Beach public safety officials line Hwy. 17 Business in North Myrtle Beach with signs indicating evacuation routes in advance of Hurricane Matthew’s effects Thursday. The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News

Greg Purden has been hired as the new North Myrtle Beach Police Chief and will begin his duties in early May.

A 33-year law enforcement veteran, Purden has spent most of his career in Brevard County, Florida. He began his career in 1985 with the West Melbourne Police Department and joined the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in 1988.

His most recent position was as commander of operational services where he oversaw the largest and busiest area of Brevard County, serving a population of over 200,000.

His command included 103 employees and an annual budget of $9 million with oversight of the traffic unit, agricultural unit, marine unit, explosives ordnance disposal unit, K-9 unit, bloodhound unit, animal services and enforcement, aviation unit, emergency operations, honor guard, chaplains, and the volunteer program, according to the City of North Myrtle Beach.

During his career, Purden has served as a patrol deputy, field training officer, dive team member, special weapons and tactics team deputy/team leader, tactical team deputy, patrol sergeant, community policing sergeant, patrol lieutenant, career development unit lieutenant, major/countywide watch commander, special weapons and tactics team commander, west precinct commander, administrative services commander, and court services commander, the city said in a release.

“We are excited to have Greg on our team,” North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Director Jay Fernandez said in the release. “He has great depth of experience, solid training and credentials, is a fine and personable communicator and, importantly, he’s a natural fit for our department.”

Purden holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College in Missouri with major course work in criminal justice. He is a graduate of the 224th Session of the FBI National Academy and the Southern Police Institute (University of Louisville) 39th Command Officers Development Course. He has thousands of hours of other professional training and certifications.

Purden has two grown children. His son, Austin, is a police officer in Melbourne and his daughter, Sierra, will be attending law school in the fall.

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