WMBF Investigates: Contracts show more than $10,000 difference in HCS SRO rates


HORRY COUNTY (WMBF) – The Horry County School District is going to put armed security guards in 16 schools for the upcoming school year. The decision finalized Monday removes Horry County Police officers from the district’s schools, but HCS uses four other agencies for schools in incorporated areas of the county.

All four contracts with Aynor Police, Conway Police, Loris Police and Myrtle Beach Police show a 50/50 shared cost of the officers between the district and the cities and town. Each contract also lists a payment from the district that cannot be exceeded.

Based on that amount, the district will pay an average of $33,854.44 for the two Myrtle Beach Police officers it uses. By comparison, the single Loris Police officer costs the district just $23,768.31. Both of those contracts are for the upcoming school year.

The armed security officers from U.S. Security Associates will get an average of $30,558.72, three Conway Police officers get an average of 30,872.43 from the district. Only the 2016-17 contract for Aynor Police was provided. It shows the district pays $25,154.15 for a single officer.

Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill released the following statement on the decision:

While I am disappointed in the school board’s decision to remove the School Resource Officers, I will use these positions to strengthen our community relations and crime fighting efforts. Their presence in the school is more than just a visible deterrent to criminal activity. The SRO’s serve as mentors and coaches to our youth while impacting their lives in ways that will leave a positive and lasting impression. These officers are passionate about their role in the schools and I expect to lose a few as a result of this decision. The reassignment of the SROs is forthcoming, but our plan is to use these officers in a patrol and community engagement capacity. Despite the outcome, HCPD is dedicated to the safety and security of all students and will continue supporting the youth in our community. We take their safety and security seriously and will redesign our response plan to a school event working with the new security.

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