CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – It’s been more than a year now since the Horry County Police Department announced plans to bring on new domestic violence detectives.
Despite hundreds of cases each year, that still hasn’t happened.
In January of last year, Horry County Police Chief Joseph Hill told News13 the department applied for a federal grant to fund those new domestic violence detectives.
Hill says they still haven’t gotten the money, and 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says those detectives are needed as soon as possible to solve cases.
Richardson says right now, the officers the department has now have to respond to several different types of calls in a very large county.
“They’re just being bombarded all over the place. They’re going to a forgery over here, to a stolen trailer, domestic violence,” said Richardson.
Richardson says the numbers show they need dedicated officers to domestic violence.
“They can come in and take photographs of injuries, they can come in and go into a little bit of a deeper interview that can help us get more evidence for a case,” said Richardson.
Right now, Richardson says there are 350 pending domestic violence cases in Horry County.
Last year, South Carolina was number five in the nation for domestic violence cases, and Horry County is responsible with a large part of that number because the county tops the state.
Still, officers can’t be hired until the federal money is there to pay them.
“Once you get the federal grant, the good side is you usually always get it. The problem is you’ve got to go to D.C., and when you add those layers of bureaucracy, I believe that it will happen, but the federal grants usually take a lot longer,” said Richardson.
Hill says right now they aren’t sure exactly when they will get the money, but they have been awarded the grant.
When the department gets the grant money, Hill says it would still take about three months to get those detectives on the street because of the shortages they still face with patrol officers in the department.