By Annie Rigby
Loris Police Department Chief Gary Buley accepted the award from the South Carolina of Public Safety for excelling in Driving Under the Influence (DUI), DUI victim services and anti-underage drinking programs in South Carolina. Buley said, “This is an honor to receive the award for an agency our size.” He stated the LPD will continue to make the department better each day. He said, “This hard work could not have been done without the officer’s giving it their all every day that they come in.” Buley stated he appreciates the support from all of the citizens of Loris and the department will continue to do their very best to protect and serve “our lovely town”.
LPD Officer Naim Jerzey Vaughn returned to the department as a rehire and began his night shift on Monday, Oct. 19; the department is pleased with his return. In an interview with WPDE-15 News on Tuesday, Oct. 6, after the residents of Loris received a postcard from an anonymous source stating to call the city leaders about defunding the police department. Harrelson said in his interview with the station, “We have run into some budgetary issues that we are working through right now and I would really like to have 12 (officers).” He responded to the question regarding the request the LPD made to install cameras within the city to monitor activity and the purchase of a truck when an arrest is made with someone traveling by bicycle so they do not damage the electronic equipment in the trunk of the police vehicles as well as utilizing a truck with a locking truck bed cover to take illegal drugs impounded as evidence in drug arrests to travel safely to Columbia for the destruction once the case has been closed. Harrelson responded saying, “I think they (the police) are safe, I think our citizens are safe, we are in the county and if we needed help from the county we could reach out to them;” he continued, “and, you know, if something really really bad was going on which not very often happens in Loris.” He said as more people move into Loris and the tax base grows they would be able to add more positions; some residents have expressed they are willing to pay more taxes now in order to protect Loris and its’ protectors. Chief Buley stated that the department is utilizing all ten officers to cover the road but it is not sustainable in the long term.
On Wednesday, Oct. 7, at approximately 6:30 p.m. a few young teens were on the playground at Watson Park where one 14 year old girl was wounded in a shooting. The mayor stated that six officers responded to investigate. The LPD with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) assisting the investigation continues. Lt. Larry Williams stated that six officers responded to the call with one officer called back to duty after just ending his shift. Shana Mincey, LPD Victim’s Advocate, is assisting the family of the teen, one of which is scheduling counseling for the young girl and has aided the family with needs associated with the wounds received.
During the period August 28, 2020 to September 27, 2020, officers responded to calls for 15 accidents, 26 alarms, 6 assaults, 3 Criminal Domestic Violence/Domestic (CDV), 10 drug activity, 5 juvenile cases, 4 larceny and 3 malicious damage.
Williams stated with the pandemic at hand it is more difficult for the LPD to get out into the public and interact with children as they have scheduled time in the past They do assist in birthday party parades or meet with children to allow the citizens to see a positive side of the Loris Police Department and the officers. He stated once the pandemic allows spending time together in close proximity to promote peace officers are our friends.