MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The Myrtle Beach Police Department currently has 47 openings for sworn officers.
The department just sent 15 conditional job offers to candidates, which if hired, would reduce the number of openings by nearly one-third.
Master Cpl. Tom Vest said the department is not alone when it comes to needing more officers.
“We still have some growth to do,” Vest said. “We’re going to continue to grow with the community, and keeping these vacancies filled is huge for us.”
The department used to recruit a pool of applicants every three months, but now is now recruiting and hiring year-round. Vest said the department is taking advantage of virtual opportunities.
“The whole purpose is making it—I won’t say easy because becoming a police officer isn’t easy—but more convenient,” Vest said. “So you don’t have to put in an application and wait for three months to find out. As soon as we get a group together, we’re going to be in touch with you for interviews, which are all done remotely, so there’s no travel required just to start the process with us.”
Vest said the change in recruitment style started last year, and has also helped with the increased interest in the department.
“We’ve seen our applications continue to increase which is fantastic, so we’re going to keep hiring,” Vest said.
Despite the number of vacancies, more Myrtle Beach police officers will be on the streets on weekends.
“I’ve seen a lot of cops,” said tourist Zi Adams.
The department started its optional summer weekend overtime staffing last weekend. Anywhere between 15 and 20 officers take on extra shifts with even more officers added deeper into the summer.
“We’re a seasonal city,” Vest said. “We pick up in the summer and the workload picks up with it.”
During the peak season, Myrtle Beach officers will patrol downtown on bikes to navigate through the heavy traffic. Vest said those officers are critical.
The department is even looking to add a permanent team of officers on bicycles to increase reach.
“That team will work whatever the hot spots are,” Vest said. “Ocean Boulevard during the summer, up on the north end, the south end. They’re going to go wherever the action is.”
Myrtle Beach is still offering new city employees a $4,000 relocation bonus.