Horry County Council approves funding for police precinct in Carolina Forest

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CAROLINA FOREST, S.C. (WBTW) — Plans for a new government complex, which is slated to include space for a fifth police precinct, are moving ahead in Horry County.

County council approved a $25 million bond issuance Tuesday, which makes funding to build the Central Coast Complex project possible.

Kelly Moore, a spokesperson for the county, said the complex is planned to go near the corner of River Oaks Drive and International Drive.

“We know that we have not only a growing population in the Carolina Forest area, but in those areas that are closer to the beach, so trying to centralize services for a lot of those folks,” Moore said.

Of the $25 million, $21 million is for the Central Coast Complex. The land is expected to cost $2 million.

“Our officers aren’t at any one precinct sitting and waiting,” Moore said. “They’re constantly out on the move in their area. So it’s not that those services aren’t offered there. But it offers them an additional space, an additional presence in a community we know is not only growing but looking for those services.”

In addition to the precinct, the complex will also include offices for the county treasurer, auditor and more. There will also be a magistrate’s office.

“It doesn’t change the services we’ll offer here in Conway or at some of our other facilities, and you’ll see a lot of similarities,” Moore said.

Horry County currently has has four police precincts. Police Chief Joe Hill told News13 earlier this year that it would take 42 people to launch a fifth one in Carolina Forest.

The “North Precinct,” which includes Carolina Forest and other areas, responded to over 4,200 calls in May 2021.

John “JJ” Jones, executive director of the South Carolina Police Chiefs Association. said it’s critical for governments to grow their public safety agencies alongside their populations.

“The more we grow in South Carolina, the more infrastructure we’re going to need,” he said. “The more public safety we’re going to need. The more cops, the more firefighters.”

Moore said the county hopes to close on the land by the end of the year and put the project out to bids in spring 2022.

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