Dinner building bonds between police, community happening this week

Scores of area police will dine for free this Thursday at the annual Community Law Enforcement Appreciation Committee dinner at Pine Lakes Country Club in Myrtle Beach.

Several area police and officials will receive awards, recognizing them for their work, and all will enjoy a night of food, fellowship, and entertainment, according to organizers, who endeavor to strengthen the bonds between law enforcement and those they watch over.

“It’s important because what we do is strive to connect cops, kids, and communities…,” said Paul Juliano, dinner chairman.

He said about 350 tickets are released for the event, which invites officers from 15 different area agencies and community members to come together.

“All of the police officers in both counties of Horry County and Georgetown County - their police officers are going to come for nothing,” said John Bonsignor, board member of the CLEAC at a luncheon at the Grecian Delight last week in Myrtle Beach, where local leaders, activists, and law enforcement met to discuss the upcoming event and others.

Bonsignor and CLEAC Board Member and Community Activist, Bennie Swans talked about the event at luncheon last week, as well their mission to build bridges between police, children, and the community as a whole.

The dinner, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, is the second annual, and while police dine for free courtesy of the Pine Lakes Country Club and Founder’s Group International, who have donated the food, community tickets are $25 per person, with funds going toward charitable organizations.

Swans and Bonsignor spoke about the importance of the organization’s goal to bring the community and law enforcement together and invited the community to come show their support for their cause.

“During difficult times, we need relationships to sustain us,” said Swans. “We want the business community to be partners in our effort as we preserve and develop relationships within our communities and with the police. We’ve got a fine police force, but they can’t solve the problem. We’ve got to all work together to build a safer more productive society.”

Myrtle Beach City Councilman Randal Wallace also attended the luncheon last week and spoke about the committee and its mission.

“Groups like this who are working with every one of the police departments are so important because they help build those bridges and bring the community together,” he said.

It’s important for police to feel supported in their roles and for members in the community to know and feel comfortable with officers, Wallace said.

The group sprang up after violence in the community in an effort to curb it, and with a string of recent shootings in the Myrtle Beach area, Swans said it’s essential to keep the committee’s goal moving.

The committee has held two successful free cookouts in Horry County – one last summer and one last fall – that brought kids and cops together for an afternoon of food and games.

“Our concern is to be able to connect and improve the quality of life and the relationships between cops, kids, and communities,” said Swans. “While other cities wrestle with that issue, the Grand Strand has been smart enough to pull together 15 police precincts that run from the top of South Carolina to Georgetown in building those kinds of relationships.”

For more information, contact Bennie Swans at 843-251-2061or John Bonsignor 843-385-3963.