NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The city of North Myrtle Beach is eliminating cross-training and service for its firefighters and police officers.
At a workshop on Wednesday, city officials said the move would save the city more than $500,000 a year.
Data presented by City Manager Mike Mahaney showed that fewer than 1% of all incidents require a police officer to serve as a firefighter or a firefighter to serve as a police officer.
The data also showed that nearly $500,000 is spent every year on overtime for required dual-training certifications. Another $100,000 is spent each year on uniforms and equipment for new hires to be outfitted for both roles. Officials also said the costly equipment for both roles is not being used as much.
“We just want to make sure that we are prepared and ready and by separating and letting the firefighters be firefighters and the police officers be police officers,” Mayor Marilyn Hatley said.
“It is a way that we can make sure our services are top-notch,” Hatley said.
The city believes ending the method could also lead to more hires. News13 spoke with police and fire officials who think the move will improve recruitment and retention rates.
“Some of us are made to be firefighters, and some of us are made to be police officers,” said Fire Chief Garry Spain. “And with this separation, now we’re going to be pulling from a bigger pool of individuals,” Spain said.
Hatley also said she hopes to use the money saved to recruit new hires for the entire public safety department. A final decision on how the money will be used is expected to be discussed at the city’s fiscal year 2023 budget retreat.