Coastal Carolina Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 12 unanimously endorsed the candidacy of Johnny Gardner for Horry County Council Chairman during its monthly meeting Thursday night.
A donation to Gardner’s campaign by Coastal Carolina FOP Lodge 12 accompanied the endorsement.
Gardner is challenging incumbent Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus in the upcoming June 12, 2018 Republican Primary.
Membership in Lodge 12 includes active and retired law enforcement officers from Horry, Georgetown and Marion Counties.
FOP National President Chuck Canterbury, a retired officer from Horry County Police Department, said, “We are committed to support Johnny Gardner. We plan to work very diligently to help him get elected. We plan to put our shoe leather where our mouth is.”
Canterbury said many Horry County officers feel public safety is not a priority among county officials at this time. Canterbury said HCPD used to be a “go to” police department where trained, experienced officers lined up to join the department. Now it is a department where officers get training and experience under their belt, then move to another department where pay and benefits are considerably better.
“We believe Johnny Gardner is the best candidate “to help secure the county and help provide a safe environment for the citizens,” Canterbury said.
Gardner said he was very humbled to receive the endorsement from FOP Lodge 12.
“I feel very humbled and very fortunate to receive the endorsement from Coastal Carolina Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 12,” Gardner said. “First responders are the people who go to work every day to keep the rest of us safe. They deserve the loyalty, respect and appreciation of the county government they serve.”