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Police work to add additional surveillance cameras to downtown Myrtle Beach

Businesses along Main Street in Myrtle Beach have very little traffic on Friday afternoon. Some downtown business owners have asked the city for improvements, complaining that trees block signage and a lack of parking hurts the area.
Businesses along Main Street in Myrtle Beach have very little traffic on Friday afternoon. Some downtown business owners have asked the city for improvements, complaining that trees block signage and a lack of parking hurts the area. jlee@thesunnews.com

Additional surveillance cameras could soon line the streets in downtown Myrtle Beach, after city council announced a third part to its police plan called the Downtown Enforcement and Property Maintenance Initiative.

The cameras could be added to “key locations” in the area, and would work to prevent some of the crime that is typically seen.

The initiative would also add two code enforcement officers who are dedicated specifically to the downtown area. The officers would work nights and weekends all year long, reducing visual clutter and identifying potential structural and habitability issues.

“This would be a more proactive approach to code enforcement than what we traditionally have,” John Pedersen, Myrtle Beach city manager, said during a city council workshop Tuesday morning. “Given the city’s desire to upgrade the downtown, to do some revitalization and to remove some of the crime that area is known for, we believe it’s important to change the physical evidence as well.”

The plan also includes the incorporation of more dumpsters so that “bulky items” will not line the streets.

In October, city council members, along with Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock, announced a 10-year plan that would add seven new officers to various divisions in the department each year.

The divisions include patrol, special operations for traffic and marine units, investigative division for crime scene units, a support services division that aims to support officers on the street, an administrative division, which consists of non-sworn in officers and a “power shift” team.

The “power shift” team, which will be created with existing officers by the end of this week, will work from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m., when crime peaks in the city, according to police spokesman Capt. Joey Crosby.

The second part of the plan involved retention, announced in early January, calling for a pay raise for police officers, both certified and un-certified, including dispatchers.

The plan implements an automatic 1.75-percent market increase for all sworn officers and dispatchers, plus a 3 percent merit increase and a market rate salary adjustment of 5 percent, which will begin on Jan. 12.

These increases mean that new hires who are not certified would receive $40,000 starting salary, and new hires who are certified would start with a $44,000 salary.

Megan Tomasic: 843-626-0343, @MeganTomasic

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