North Myrtle Beach begins search for new police chief

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    NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The search for a new chief of police is underway in North Myrtle Beach.

    Since announcing the open position two days ago, they’ve already received half a dozen applications, according to public safety director Jay Fernandez.

    The department’s been without a police chief since June 2017, said Fernandez, and he along with the fire chief and some lieutenants have taken on the role since then.

    “When he (former chief Phil Webster) retired, we decided we would wait to go out and look for a new chief,” said city spokesperson Pat Dowling.

    Fernandez said they had a lot of other projects they were working on, which is why they didn’t get to the search right away.

    “It’s added a little more to my plate and to fire Chief Gary Spain’s plate and also our police lieutenants. We’ve all had to share his duties and responsibilities,” said Fernandez.

    Dowling said this helped give the city an opportunity to move employees within the department around and allow them to grow.

    “In September we will review all the applications and then our goal is in the October time frame, we will probably invite all the candidates in for an interview,” Fernandez said.

    City officials said they’re looking for someone who’s trained properly, but the right candidate for the job excels further than that. They want this person to focus on community policing as well.

    “Working with residents and visitors and businesses and sort of explaining their mission, how they handle policing within the city of North Myrtle Beach, which is very different from some of its neighbors,” said Dowling.

    Fernandez said community policing is the foundation of the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety and they want the new police chief to enhance what they already have in place.

    Officials said the chief will be required to build relationships in the community.

    Fernandez said if they get to the end of the application process and still feel as though they don’t have the right person, they will continue the search.

    Depending on how the hiring process goes, Fernandez said they’re hoping to announce the new chief in November but the person likely won’t start until January.

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