Myrtle Beach is stepping up patrols to combat underage drinking and DUIs this summer.
Area police and community members have teamed up to increase efforts to prevent DUI crashes and underage drinking through the use of education, checkpoints and more training for authorities, according to members of Horry County Community Action for a Safer Tomorrow Coalition (CAST).
CAST announced on Tuesday, since March 1 they have:
- Held 46 checkpoints
- 18 saturation patrols
- Written 322 charges
- 50 of these charges were for DUI cases
Horry County CAST chairman told Myrtle Beach’s The Sun News, “The prevention, education and community involvement sets it [CAST] aside from any other effort.”
CAST is composed of law enforcement officers and area police departments including:
- Aynor Police
- Coastal Carolina University Police
- Horry County Police
- SC Highway Patrol
- Loris Police
- North Myrtle Beach Police
- Surfside Beach Police
The effort also involved representatives from:
- Horry County School District
- The Solicitor’s Office
- Project Lighthouse
- Shoreline Behavioral Health Services
Horry County Sheriff, Phillip Thompson, summed up the effort by stating, “The more we do together, the better and more effective we are.”
The idea to form the coalition to address DUIs came from the use of drug units and organized crime units because both drugs and organized crime do not occur in just one jurisdiction, states Surfside Beach Chief Mike Frederick.
“This is a perfect problem to throw a taskforce at,” Chief Fredericks states. “We cannot be as effective by ourselves as we can with each other. We cannot wall off Surfside Beach and expect it to be as effective. It’s a natural progression.” Chief Frederick continues.
Sgt. Don Causey with the SC Highway Patrol states the cooperation between the agencies and communities members has been the “pinnacle of my career”.
“We all know the tragedies associated with DUIs and it cannot be tolerated. It has to be stopped,” Sgt. Causey states.
CAST used a federal grant received by Horry County officials. The five-year grant is currently in its fourth year. This year is the first full year of implementation, according to Coordinator for Horry County’s CAST Coalition, Jessie Marlowe. Officials received $165,000 to install and implement the program. The funding covers overtime for officers working traffic safety checkpoints or saturation patrols in the prevention of DUI-related crashed and underage drinking.
“This is costing the taxpayers nothing,” Chairman Benton states.
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