The Department of Justice (DOJ) is awarding the Myrtle Beach Police Department with $1.25 million to hire 10 new officers. The US Attorney’s Office released a statement saying the department was receiving the funds through the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP).
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday the grant was part of $98 million in funding for more cops. 179 law enforcement agencies around the country will be receiving the funding according to Sessions. The funding would allow for the hiring of 802 more full-time officers by those agencies.
WMBF News reports that the Myrtle Beach Police Department (MBPD) is receiving the highest amount of funding in the state.
“The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department was awarded $1,000,000 for eight new officers, and the Spartanburg Department of Public Safety received $244,409 which will provide for the hiring of two new officers,” WMBF News reported.
“The COPS grants will result in the hiring of additional officers in Berkeley County, Myrtle Beach, and Spartanburg. Protecting our communities against violent criminals is paramount and we look forward to continuing these efforts and working closely with our state and local law enforcement partners,” says Beth Drake, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina.
The press release also states:
“CHP provides grant funding directly to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to support hiring additional law enforcement officers for three years to address specific crime problems through community policing strategies.
“In September, the Justice Department announced additional priority consideration criteria for FY2017 COPS Office grants. Applicants were notified that their application would receive additional points in the application scoring process by certifying their willingness to cooperate with federal immigration authorities within their detention facilities. Cooperation may include providing access to detention facilities for an interview of aliens in the jurisdiction’s custody and providing advance notice of an alien’s release from custody upon request. Eighty percent of the awarded agencies received additional points based on their certifications of willingness to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
“The COPS Office awards grants to hire community policing officers, develop and test innovative policing strategies, and provide training and technical assistance to community members, local government leaders, and all levels of law enforcement. Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to help advance community policing.”
According to My Horry News, Myrtle Beach and other departments were selected by the DOJ based on their fiscal needs, local crime rates, and community policing plans.
53 cases were ordered closed by a former deputy police chief who resigned in July. That didn’t affect consideration for the funding. Former Horry County Deputy Police Chief Maurice D. Jones resigned amid allegations of misconduct for ordering that dozens of cases be dropped without investigation.
“When Deputy Chief Jones was asked about this by (internal affairs), Deputy Chief Jones said he never ordered that to be done. Through the (internal affairs) investigation it was determined that Deputy Chief Jones was being dishonest and untruthful,” the notice of separation said.
Jones is the third deputy chief to leave the department in just over a year.
Myrtle Beach Police Department already received the same amount three years ago. That didn’t come up in the decision-making process.
In 2014, the DOJ awarded MBPD with a $1.25 million grant to hire 10 police officers. The city was already planning to hire 10 as a result of a millage increase approved in June 2014.
U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles said in prepared comments then, “These Community Oriented Policing awards translate to officers on the streets, and officers on our streets make a difference in the safety of South Carolinians.”
Three years and $1.25 million later, has there been a drastic change in the crime rate? According to Area Vibes, the overall crime rate is 313% higher than the average of crimes committed in South Carolina. It is also 446% higher than the national average. When it comes to violent crimes, Myrtle Beach, SC shows a crime rate that is 236% higher than the South Carolina average. The crime rate is also 337% higher than the national average. Myrtle Beach, SC is shown to be 325% higher than the South Carolina average and 463% higher than the national average in property crime.
For all that money shovelled into MBPD, there is little to show for it. The crime rates are staggering surpassing that of the state and national average. What good is the money doing? More cops equal more crime. Take the money and place in preventive measures. Maybe there won’t be a need for as many cops walking a beat.
Are these departments understaffed and underpaid or under trained?