The Myrtle Beach Police Department has a team of designated officers who work to build relationships with the city’s homeless.
Currently made up of two officers, the department hopes to eventually add more.
Officer Michael Demore says their objective is to help the homeless with things like identification, finding shelters, recovery centers and even bus tickets.
“I truly care about them, we’re not here to hassle anybody or arrest anybody and some of them don’t see that but most of them do.” Demore said.
Terrence McCullough says he has experienced on and off homelessness in Myrtle Beach and understands why some homeless people are hesitant to get close with officers.
But, building that relationship can break barriers.
“It’s bridging that gap between police officers and people.” said Mccullough
Officer Corey Weld joined the outreach team just a few weeks ago.
“In the month I’ve been in this position, it’s been very eye opening.” said Weld. “But we can actually take the time and understand exactly what they’re going through and where they’ve been and somehow we can relate with them. “
Director of New Directions shelters, Kathy Jenkins says she’ll meet homeless people who have traveled to Myrtle Beach from across the state, because for a lot of them it brings back happy memories and nostalgia.
“Nine times out of ten their story is ‘I came here as a child and when I needed a change in my life,
I thought about the wonderful times I had in Myrtle Beach and that’s why I came here’.” Jenkins said.
New Directions posts progress reports about their clients on their Facebook page, congratulating them on new jobs