The Peoples’ Choice in Policing for a Coastal Community

Chief Saundra Rhodes, Horry County Police Chief,Donna R. Gore, Shattered Lives

“In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to do it.” Marianne Williamson



From high rises and beach wear stores with just a 45 minutes journey to very rural cornfields and corner stores in which everyone knows their closest neighbor two miles away…  That’s the composition of Horry County, according to Chief Saundra Rhodes….

One never knows what turn life will take whether It is in one’s job or choice of residence…. However, there are those people who, for whatever reason, stay within their community in which they were born and bred and go on to serve in an exemplary fashion.

One such person is Chief Saundra Rhodes of the Horry County Police Department.  Horry County is an interesting area of contrasts…. Tucked in the northeastern corner of South Carolina, it consists of 1,255 square miles with just under 10 percent consisting of water. Population according to the 2010 census was 269,291 with a density of 173 people per square mile.  Geographically they have a rich variety of terrain including rives, forests, swamps and the ever popular beaches. Unlike the TV commercials touting the wonderful beaches, much of this land is rural and poor. Such a contrast in landscape and residents speaks to the varying needs of residents.

As a woman of color, Chief Rhodes navigated the undercover world of drugs within the force with great success prior to her present position.   She also took on the challenge to change perceptions about law enforcement in her beloved county and get back in touch with the community as of her appointment in September 2012.  She is innovative, savvy and a woman who appreciates the talents of her staff. Ladyjustice and Delilah interviewed this exemplary Chief on our most recent episode of “Shattered Lives.” Join us for a very enlightening hour!

Listen to the PODCAST

  • Introduction to our guest:
  • Chief Rhodes evolution to her current position;
  • “Drug dealing”  to community oriented policing & enforcement teams as a Sergeant;
  • The “progression of suspicion” for being identified as an undercover police officer;
  • The “brotherhood of narcotics” and the danger involved;
  • Her first  love – community policing and progress to date;
  • Community meetings, homeowners meetings, and inclusion of the community in promotions;
  • Delilah asks about the different sectors of police and working as a team between jurisdictions;
  • An example of multi-jurisdictional cooperation.  Re-entry procedures for evacuation during a hurricane;
  • Ladyjustice asks about policing given high degree of activity, influx of tourists, retirees moving in,  transient population, high unemployment and low wages;
  • The Chief’s response from high rises and beach wear stores  to very rural  cornfields and corner stores just 45 minutes away;
  • Retirees needs…. versus rural residents…
  • A discussion of the four precincts – and a recent realignment;
  • Delilah- “It’s not unusual to not visit the beach when you live there….”
  • Ladyjustice asks about the process of  interfacing with legislators whether it be at the local council level up to the Governor’s office;
  • Chief talks about her role as a teacher and turning theory into practice…
  • Making changes in police policy instead of “the way it’s always been done…”
  • The responsiveness to changes for more officers  and more money;
  • Changing the perception of Council members – Gangs in Horry County;
  • Delilah asks about the situation in Horry County and Myrtle Beach with Human Trafficking; “Putting our heads in the sand…”
  • Delilah on addressing Human Trafficking in their area – Coming into the public eye…;
  • Fugitives in Myrtle Beach  “A  good place  in which to get lost and to blend in;”
  • Ladyjustice asks about efforts with the juvenile justice system in Horry County so that crimes do not escalate with young people;
  • Grieving Mothers Helping to Prevent Further Violence in Myrtle Beach :
  • Local Article:
  • A discussion of types of crimes in Horry County – Drugs and Property Crimes;
  • Ladyjustice asks about advice to tourists and what behaviors they need to practice and avoid;
  • A discussion about assessing the patterns of crime with use of technology to assist tourists;
  • A new and improved airport- Is there an impact?
  • The Chief reviews the various precincts and the many types of units;
  • A discussion of de-centralizing the force and the benefits of such a move;
  • Media coverage about policing and greater transparency “The doorway to the public”
  • Teaching Criminal Justice at Horry Georgetown Technical College and recruiting;
  • Chief Rhode discusses the police turnover rate due to forced retirement…. However, there is a bright side with transforming a police force with innovative methods;
  • A day in the life of a police chief “like a hamster on a wheel” What’s it like?
  • A praising e-mail changing the complexion of a hard day….
  •   Major Goal: A police department intertwined with the community;”
  • Contact Information: Chief Rhodes may be contacted at 843-915-8341 or by email at


Questions to be answered from this Podcast:

  • How it was that Chief Rhodes began her career?
  • Who is most and least likely to be identified as a police officer when you are undercover?
  • What is the goal of community policing and how is it done?
  • How is “walking a beat” foot patrols viewed as a method of policing?
  • What is the framework of police assistance between different jurisdictions?
  • How does Horry County compare to other coastal counties demographically?
  • What industries created Horry County as compared to currently?
  • What is the true size of the County and the challenges faced by police?
  • Where are the majority of police officers based and what is their role?
  • Which precincts receive the most calls and how are they assigned?
  • What is traditional policing and how does it differ from methods currently used?
  • What is the focus of the Street Crimes unit?
  • What is the attraction for fugitives in Myrtle Beach?
  • What kinds of programs does the Horry County Police endorse for young people  in the 17 to 24 age range?
  • What are the statistics regarding violent crime in the area?
  • What are “crimes of opportunity?”
  • How does the Chief prepare for an increase in tourists during selected times of the year?
  • How many officers are employed in Horry County and how are  various units described?
  • What is a major change just implemented by Chief Rhodes regarding the Criminal Investigations Division?
  • What is the composition of the Specialized Teams?
  • What is the true need for officers currently?
  • What are the external and internal focuses that a Chief has to attend to on a day to day basis?
  • What are the major goals for the future according to Chief Rhodes?


The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.




One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s