Myrtle Beach city leaders discuss barricades at day two of retreat

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Myrtle Beach is once again discussing safety options on Ocean Boulevard.

At day two of its retreat, city council members talked about the use of permanent barricades along the popular tourist road.

Council members are questioning if those barricades are needed along all of Ocean Boulevard, only in certain areas or not at all. On Wednesday, Mayor Brenda Bethune passed around pictures of barricades in other cities she said don’t look as ominous as metal barriers.

“They use the same type of barricades as we have, but they actually cover them in fabric with logos just to soften the look,” Bethune said.

Some council members don’t think barricades are the answer and believe the area just needs more boots on the ground.

“After we had the (Father’s Day weekend) shooting, we put the barricades back up to help move traffic along and we also ramped up the police presence downtown. After we did both things, we had success for the rest of the summer. The question is whether we want to do both, or back off the barricades and just go with the increased number of police officers,” city manager John Pedersen said.

Pedersen added everyone agrees that having a significant police presence on the waterfront is needed throughout the summer. Council is considering adding those extra officers as early as the spring.

“The sooner we do that the better, because that does send a message to the next group that comes that we are serious about enforcing our laws,” Bethune said. “Myrtle Beach was founded as a family-friendly destination and we need to get back to that. The only way to do that is let people know that if you come here you’re welcome, but you will abide by our laws.”

Bethune said council is going to schedule a meeting with Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock to talk about summer safety and if the barricades are needed.

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