Fixing the HCPD Culture of Corruption

By Paul Gable

Having watched portions of a videotaped deposition by former Horry County police detective Allen Large, it is apparent a culture of corruption exists at the HCPD far beyond the actions of a few officers.

Large is being sued by three women, described as Jane Does 1-3 in lawsuits, for sexual harassment, among other allegations.

In his deposition, Large admitted he suggested to three different female victims they get involved in videotaped cat fights to make money and admitted he enjoyed watching such events.

But, Large appeared to feel that his transgressions were minor compared to what other officers, including command staff officers, got involved in.

“We have a lot of incidents of officers doing stuff,” he said in his deposition.

Large went on to list officers having sex with other officers and department employees during duty hours, sometimes on desks in various offices within the police department; officers getting sexual services from exotic dancers while on duty and narcotics officers having sex with informants as some of the types of “stuff” going on.

Large said, “Officers have been let go for sending pictures of their private parts to people they pulled over.”

“There’s a lot of people still working there that have had “relationships” and things like that,” he said.. “Unless the police department’s covering up something, they should be able to tell you who they were.”

“You’re not supposed to be going and having sex while you’re on duty,” but Large said that sort of thing has been going on within the HCPD since he’s been there.

“There’s all kinds of shenanigans that go on there (HCPD) all the time,” Large added.

Large noted one case in which he said he was investigating the death of a man while his partner was “going off and having sex with the victim’s girlfriend.”

Large said promotions were a means of moving people who couldn’t perform their assigned duties.

“People mess up in our police department and they’re getting promoted,” he said. “You start bringing in some of the people I’ve worked with that have been there for a while, they’ll tell you so and so got promoted because they can’t do their job. It’s what happens over there.”

HCPD has been under investigation, actually several different investigations, by the State Law Enforcement Division since late last year. Since those investigation began, I have been told by numerous sources things were going to get “very ugly” for HCPD before this was all over.

Having covered various incidents involving HCPD over several decades, I have long believed there is a long standing culture of corruption and coverup at HCPD combined with an attitude officers can get away with anything they want to because “the system” will protect them.

The many problems at HCPD cannot be fixed by having the county administrator appoint a new chief. These problems have been going on through several chiefs.

There is a growing interest in having HCPD recombined with the Horry County Sheriff’s Department with the sheriff, an elected official, being responsible to the people for quality, unbiased, uncorrupted law enforcement.

It appears a majority of Horry County Council members is reluctant to allow the people to vote on a referendum toward that end. The excuse has been, Sheriff Phillip Thompson can handle the problems but what will happen with the next sheriff?

Whatever happens, it can’t be any worse than what has happened at HCPD through the administrations of the last several chiefs.

I believe Sheriff Thompson is the only law enforcement official capable of fixing the current out of control culture at HCPD.

It’s time for a referendum.



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