By Paul Gable
In a neatly orchestrated discussion to reach a predetermined conclusion, the Horry County Public Safety Committee determined an independent Horry County Police Department would remain the rule in the county.
Said in a slightly different way, there will be no opportunity for the voters to express themselves through a referendum on whether to merge the police department with the Horry County Sheriff’s Department because council is unwilling to give them the opportunity.
Horry County Attorney Arrigo Carotti told the committee it would require a three reading ordinance of council followed by a binding voter referendum to merge the departments.
Carotti said the ordinance had to be passed by August 15, 2016 in order to appear on the November 2016 general election ballot. Carotti said there was only one meeting of Horry County Council before the August date and special called meetings of council were only intended to address urgent issues between council meetings.
Obviously, there is no urgency on the part of council to allow the voters the opportunity to vote on the issue of a merger.
Carotti said low voter turnout consistent with special elections, the other possible alternative for a referendum, would not give a fair representation of the wishes of voters on the issue.
By that logic, there should not be any primary elections nor special elections for vacant offices because the wishes of the voters are not fairly represented by the 10 percent or less of voters who turn up at the polls to vote in them.
You can see this is not an issue that council is willing to take to the voters and this little dog and pony show was carefully designed to avoid that possibility.
But, it won’t solve the problem. Horry County Government has appointed four different police chiefs in the last 20 years and the internal problems and corruption within the Horry County Police Department have only grown worse over those two decades.
Despite what council thinks, appointing a new police chief won’t solve those problems now.
Paraphrasing the old Einstein quote, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the height of insanity.
In a separate issue, the committee will consider sending to full council an ordinance banning the use of weapons in approved sub-division residential communities throughout the unincorporated areas of Horry County.
Additionally, the committee will conduct further study on the establishment of a public gun range within the county.