Horry County Police Department receives accreditation by the state

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CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Wednesday the Horry County Police Department announced it is officially approved by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc. HCPD is the only agency in the Grand Strand to be accredited by the state.

“It’s part of our goal to rebuild the trust in our agency,” said Chief Joseph Hill.

Hill said he is relieved to finally be accredited by the state. The three-year process allowed an outside organization to analyze and streamline policies and procedures to help hold police departments accountable.

“It shows compliance with 289 standards,” said John Tucker, the chairman of the state Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc.

“And those standards are law enforcement standards. They include the use of force, which is something that has been at the forefront for the last year or so,” Tucker said.

Although it’s not required, Tucker explained it’s extremely important. “The way going by conducting business – everyone [receives] training on certain standards and policies and so on. So, I think it’ll make a better officer,” Tucker explained.

While talking with Chief Hill, he recalled the tensions that sparked nationwide after George Floyd died in police custody last May.

“We’ve never condoned the use of a [neck restraint] or a chokehold as it’s commonly referred to. We’ve always required officers report misconduct,” Hill said. These are some of the many procedures now approved by the state from a council made up of several law enforcement associations and community leaders.

It’s a move that sets HCPD apart from the others. The police department’s approval now makes up 30 agencies across the state that are now accredited, including the Florence Police Department.

The accreditation will last for the next three years before a new assessment. Chief Hill said the accreditation will also help the department receive federal funding in case the Biden administration acts on police reform.

Officials with the Myrtle Beach Police Department told News13 they are currently working on getting accredited by the state.

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