By Paul Gable
If the decision is left up to the politicians, the Horry County Sheriff merger with the Horry County Police Department won’t happen.
Horry County Council is building a case that it’s too costly and they don’t know who the next sheriff will be.
Restated the case is: the same voters who elected current council members aren’t to be trusted when it comes to electing a sheriff.
The county is also pointing to an approximately $650k price tag to repaint and remark the vehicles and buy such things as new badges and uniforms to replace the current HCPD stock.
I have a quick suggestion. The $650k is approximately the same price as the proposed new mobile command center county council and HCPD want to purchase. Quit with the Inspector Gadget mentality and the money is found.
The amount of public money Horry County Council and HCPD have wasted on gadgets and radios over the last 15 years is abominable. These are two groups who should never use spending public dollars as an excuse not to do something that makes sense, considering the number of things they have spent public money on that do not make sense.
The real issue, however, is what can be done to eliminate the culture of corruption that has existed in HCPD ranks, especially command ranks, over the last two or so decades.
Obviously hiring a new chief is not the answer. Four new chiefs have been hired over that period (two internal, two external) with little to no change.
The decision on whether or not to merge the Sheriff’s department with HCPD is one that the people should decide in a referendum.
And, the argument that we don’t know who will follow our current sheriff Phillip Thompson is bogus. We don’t know who is going to succeed our current council members either.
One thing is certain, we need Thompson to go in and clean up the mess at HCPD now. He is the one person who has the confidence of the vast majority of Horry County citizens to get the job done.
Publicly, council members will say they have no problem submitting the question to a voter referendum. Privately, they don’t want to and are looking for excuses to not hold one.
There have been enough decisions made by this current council behind closed doors and through phone calls.
It’s time to let the people speak.