Conway police utilize street crimes unit to tackle community concerns

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    CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – In the three weeks the Conway Police Department’s street crimes unit has been in operation, it’s been a huge success, according to Chief Dale Long.

    After taking the position in April, Long said he went to different neighborhoods in the city to speak with residents about their concerns. Speeding in neighborhoods and smaller-level drug sales topped the list of issues, according to the chief.

    “We’ve had numerous general sessions-level felony drug cases that we’ve made. We’ve seized firearms, so getting the drugs and the guns,” Long said.

    A K-9 officer, in addition to two other officers, make up the street crimes unit. Long said an agent with the Drug Enforcement Unit helps with field training for the officers in the street crimes unit as well.

    George Bentley goes to church right down the street from the Conway Police Department. He thinks the street crimes unit will be good for the community.

    “I know the officers are working hard here because they come by the church very often trying to keep up with what’s going on and keep the crime down,” Bentley said.

    He also works with the church and said a few times they’ve had to call the police, but they’ve always felt taken care of.

    “It’s something that I don’t know if two or three people can keep up with at one time, so we need a whole unit to do that and I would support that all the way,” Bentley said.

    Now, about three weeks into the street crimes unit’s utilization, Long said it’s been extremely successful.

    “Within the first week we probably had the largest heroin seizure that the city of Conway has had in probably about 10 years,” he said.

    The idea was born after concerns from community members came to light. Undercover detectives who WMBF News will not identify spoke about their experience on the street crimes unit.

    “We do more than just drugs though. We do loitering complaints, panhandling, all those things that stem back to those street-level drug sales,” said one officer.

    They said community tips have been a huge help in successfully catching criminals, and urge anyone who sees something to say something.

    Long said looking to the future they’d like to be able to add more agents to the street crimes unit.

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