By Ruben Lowman
Thomas G. “Tommy” Dennis was named North Myrtle Beach Chief of Police by Public Safety Director Jay Fernandez on Monday, Sept. 14, after serving as interim police chief since early in the summer.
In announcing Dennis’ promotion, Fernandez said that, “Tommy performed in the role of interim chief of police just as we thought he would. He is effective, fair-minded, has the ability to see the big picture and at the same time can zero in to help resolve specific challenges. He effectively relates to all types of people. We are glad for Tommy and know that our staff, our taxpayers and visitors will benefit from his leadership.”
Dennis was named interim police chief on June 16 and told The Times in an interview this week that he has been pleased with the experience.
“Everyday is a learning experience so it has been great learning a new role and trying to fit in in a new way,” he said.
Part of the responsibilities of being the police chief of a growing city like North Myrtle Beach is understanding the importance of maintaining a balance to the workload, and the past couple months on the job has provided Dennis with that reallocation.
“I’ve learned that there is a lot to the job,” he said. “There is a lot to balance. I’ve learned a lot about the role in terms of administrative duties but the biggest thing I’ve learned so far [as police chief] is that there is a balance to it all.”
Police Chief Dennis commented that he has been fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to grow with the city and the police department over the course of his career, which has seen him perform many different roles, most recently as Lieutenant supervising the Beach Patrol, Community Services, and Records Division units. His close relationship with the community is something that Dennis takes great pride in and gives him a unique perspective and approach to addressing issues within the city.
“I’m definitely connected to the community. I’ve been here for over 23 and a half years and watched it grow from that time. And it is a different place,” he said. “I’m happy to have been here that long and to be able to step up and help out with this perform this role with the connection [to the community] that I have.”
From bike patrol officer to the criminal investigations unit to lieutenant, Dennis has performed many different functions within the North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Department, and that well-rounded background in the wide range of law enforcement provided Dennis with the formative experiences necessary to be where he is right now.
“I’ve had the opportunity to be in several roles so I’ve seen the job from many different angles, so every step of my career has helped to shape me into who I am.”
Chief Dennis noted the outstanding people within the city, the police department and the strong bonds between the community that have been enriched over the years.
“We’ve got a great department, great men and women working here. We’ve got a great city with great relationships between all. I’m just here to build upon that and anywhere I can improve well look at and do what we can to make it better.”
Chief Dennis hopes to further enrich the relationships between the public and his department under his command.
“I want to maintain the great relationships we have within the community. I do appreciate the community and the relationship that we have. The community loves us and we appreciate the support we get more than they probably know.”