Horry County studies security improvements at main government building

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Horry County is looking to improve security at its main government building on Second Avenue.

The Horry County Government and Justice Center is where most business is done for the fourth-largest county in South Carolina, but many parts of the building aren’t very protected.

“You’ve got to look at the people coming into the building,” Sheriff Phillip Thompson said during Tuesday’s public safety committee. “Once you get past that point and you get to those offices, there’s a danger issue.”

That’s why the Horry County Sheriff’s Office is studying how to improve safety at the center. The security for court would stay the same, but two new checkpoints would go in the main lobby.

One would be used for the Second Avenue entrance, while the other is where you enter from the main parking lot. That would require extending the administration half of the building into the lobby.

Seven more court security officers would be hired for the checkpoints. The sheriff’s office says those officers, along with new equipment, would cost about $595,000. The upgrades would also include new metal detectors, x-ray machines and cameras.

When Sheriff Thompson presented to the public safety committee, some county council members had concerns.

“How are we going to pay for it?” asked Harold Worley, who represents North Myrtle Beach. “There’s so many different entrances and it just seems to me like we ought to bring everybody in one entrance and everything else is shut down.”

“We’re going to have to do something I think eventually there, but like Harold said, that’s a lot of money and we’re kind of shorthanded right now,” said Al Allen, who represents Aynor.

Sheriff Thompson says having only one entrance would not be convenient.

“Especially when we have roster hearings on Friday, there’s just not enough room for the people that are coming in,” he said.

The sheriff’s office says it will figure out how much construction would cost and it’s expected to request the security changes in next year’s budget.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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