The Horry County Police Department wants to hir a coordinator for its victims advocates.
The Horry County Public Safety Committee approved a proposal Chief Joseph Hill presented on Monday, to apply for a grant to hire the coordinator. The grant amounts to $144,000, and the county would contribute about $28,000.
“We want to make sure the victims are touched and carried through the process, whether its a victim of domestic violence or someone who’s been assaulted or burglarized,” said Chief Hill.
With approximately 1,200 cases each quarter, Chief Hill said a victims advocates coordinator will help fill gaps in service.
“300,000 plus citizens, plus a growing number of visitors, you’re going to have more victims of crime. With a stronger victims advocate pool, we can make sure every victim of a crime receives those services,” he said.
The coordinator will search and apply for grant money for the victims advocates department. One of the responsibilities of the position will also be to work with the Sheriff’s Office and the Solicitor’s Office to coordinate for services.
“We all are in it together. If there is a breakdown in the right hand knowing what the left hand is doing that doesn’t serve anyone well,” said Patty Fine, Director of Victim Services for the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
Victims advocates with the police department notify victims of arrests and updates in the investigation. Once the case hits general sessions court, advocates with the solicitor’s office take over, and help victims navigate the court process. Fine said having a point person at the police department would help improve the system.
“The efficiency of our services will be so much greater, less mistakes will be made, things won’t be missed. We can get into a normal pattern,” she said.
Currently, a police supervisor oversees the departments victims advocates, but Fine said it needs to be a full-time position.
“The victims advocates for the police are spread out in different precincts from one end of the county to the other. For them to not have that main primary contact, is kind of unfair to them, and certainly unfair to the person who’s trying to coordinate their services,” Fine said.