Myrtle Beach Police hope to enhance staff, equipment to prevent drownings

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) - The Myrtle Beach Police Department has come up with new initiatives to enhance their beach patrol for this summer.

Lt. Joey Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department said there was an increase in calls and deaths in the water this year and they hope to reduce those with some new strategies.

"Our goal this summer is to create a safer environment for the citizens and guests that may be visiting our beaches," added Lt. Crosby.

To do that, the department wants to increase its staff and resources. The goal is to add two more Police Patrolman 1st Class and two Police Corporals as well as have six officers working per shift.

"This will allow us to provide additional coverage on the beach and also extend our coverage as well," said Lt. Crosby.

The department also hopes to add a patrol boat and a third jet ski to their fleet.

"Our goal with the jet skis is to one, monitor swimmers in distress, and then also for preventative measures," said Lt. Crosby.

The department also wants to put more eyes on the ocean by increasing the amount of "lifeguard-only" stands by 50%.

"So that person would be solely responsible for watching the ocean only and not have the responsibility of renting any type of beach chairs or umbrellas," said Lt. Crosby.

The police department has presented these plans to Myrtle Beach City Council and council is currently working to see how they can adjust the budget to make room for the additional staff and equipment.

The police department will work together with Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue, John's Beach Service and Lack's Beach Service to implement these initiatives if they get the funds from city council. The cost for new personnel, training and equipment could be around $800,000 but Lt. Crosby said that would be the absolute maximum.

Some additional equipment requested includes truck winches, life jackets, VHF radios, first aid bags, wet suits, rescue swim fins, portable waterproof VHF radios and rescue boards.

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