Chief of Police
The Department is currently comprised of 35 sworn officers, 4 civilian staff and 2 reserve officers. The Department has many resources and specialized personnel at its disposal and is headed by Chief Larry McNeil. The Department prides itself on Community Policing and in providing the best services possible for the protection of the citizens of Bennettsville and its visitors.
The Police Department provides patrol services to all parts of the city, responds to calls for police service, conducts investigations in response to reported crimes, emphasizes narcotics enforcement, generates and maintains records of all reported crimes and police related incidents, provides emergency response to major accidents, civic disorders and other public emergencies, provides community crime prevention services and conducts the City's animal control program.
The Police Department operates under the concepts of Community Oriented Policing with major emphasis on Problem Solving philosophy. Each Officer is empowered with the authority to make decisions and judgments, which positively impact crime and quality of life issues in matters requiring police involvement. Services are provided from a headquarters building on Main Street, a downtown substation located on Broad Street, and a substation located on King Street. The staffing of the Department includes 35 sworn officers and 4 civilian staff.
This unit has four (4) officers who assume the responsibility of patrolling the residential areas of Bennettsville mainly during the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons. These officers are well trained and provide a sense of security to the elderly and youth in our community.
These officers visit the homes of the elderly on a daily basis; stopping by homes to make sure everything is all right. Although it is considered hard work the officers often comment on the quality time they spend with the children and the elderly of the community.
We provide residential property checks known as S-77 checks for citizens who are away on vacation or that request that we keep a check on their property. These S-77 checks are mostly performed at night, but may be done during the daylight hours if requested.
This unit consists of two (2) officers with their K-9 partners. K-9 Max is a European long hair German Shepherd specializing in detection and tracking. K-9 Aron specializes in explosive detection and tracking. This unit has the responsibility of not only providing these specialized services for the City of Bennettsville but also for the Marlboro County School System. Both K-9 officer and partners visit the schools on a weekly basis.
Law enforcement Victim's Advocates are trained and dedicated to serve those who are victims of crimes, family members of victims of crimes. Victims advocates provide emotional and moral support, refer victims to appropriate service agencies and providers, ensure victims' legal rights are protected and advise victims of case status and progress. The Victim's Advocate also helps to prepare victims for court and provide court advocacy and accompaniment as well as provide applications and information to victims concerning South Carolina crime victims' compensation.
Critical Incident Stress Management
Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is a comprehensive, integrated system for the mitigation of critical / traumatic incident stress. The goals of this program include reducing the incidence, duration and severity of traumatic stress, reducing the impairment from traumatic stress, returning officers and other personnel to adaptive functioning and facilitating access to continued care.
Traffic Safety Unit
This unit is comprised of four (4) officers operating throughout the City of Bennettsville. These officers have the responsibility of providing vehicle safety and awareness to all in the City of Bennettsville. They are also responsible for safe traffic control.
We presently have six (6) officers in the Investigation Division. A member of the command staff supervises these investigators. There are three (3) personnel in Criminal Investigations and three (3) in Narcotic Investigations. Our Criminal Investigators are certified in Crime Scene and Homicide Investigations.
We now possess some of the best audio and visual surveillance equipment for our Investigation Division. We have Multi-Jurisdictional status with agreements with numerous outside agencies.
The Special Operation Response Team (SORT) is comprised of nine members. These officers are highly trained and certified to respond to any high-risk situation. They are trained for the purpose of serving High Risk Warrants, Hostage Situations and the removal and extraction of suspects in such situations.
Presently we employ one (1) full time Animal Control Officer with the responsibility of monitoring the control of "at large animals" in the City of Bennettsville. This Officer is on call seven (7) days a week.
The Bennettsville Police Department facilitates this after school program, which consists of three police officers. These officers are responsible for providing three hours of Drill and Ceremony, Physical Fitness Activities, Tutoring, and Counseling.
The goal of this program is to begin a process that will teach the students discipline, responsibility, better self-esteem, and an opportunity to continue their education. This program also allows the students an opportunity to interact with their Police Mentors and share personal problems that may have led them to their present problems.
The program is designed to enroll a maximum of twenty students. This is a voluntary program and the students must have their parents consent. They must attend daily and follow all of the rules and guidelines set, or the students will be discharged from the program and a ten-day suspension will commence. Police Officers responsible for the program act as mentors and will counsel the students in the concerns of morals and good standards of life. The students are introduced to things such as attitudes, grooming. communications, and conflict resolutions. Parents are able to meet with the Officers before their children attend the program, keeping in mind that this program is structured to be very strict.
Currently we have two Police Explorer Posts. One is at the Marlboro County High School, Post 650 and the other is at Stevens Christian Academy, Post 640. The Explorer Posts are made up of young people between the ages of 14 and 21.
The program is designed to provide students who have an interest in Law Enforcement as a career with the opportunity to gain an up close look and a hands on experience into the daily activities of Police Officers. The program includes Law Related Education, aide along program and also consists of the cadets participating in mock police events.
The explorers assist the BPD in all aspects of policing such as crowd control, traffic control, crime prevention and much other community oriented programs. They lean all job related tasks and take many informative field trips such as to the SC Police Academy, SLED Headquarters, SC Department of Corrections and many others.
Crime Stopper Boxes
The Bennettsville Police Dept. is committed to proactive measures to aide in the reduction of School violence. Through prevention and intervention our goals are to keep students in school and to maintain a safe environment that's conducive to learning.
On every school campus there is a communication network among students that gives them the ability to prevent and solve crimes in school. However, due to the stigma that's attached with being seen talking to the Police or an Administrator, students are reluctant to report criminal activities. Studies suggest that students and citizens in general are more apt to report criminal activities if their identity is not compromised.
The Crime Stopper's Boxes are designed to promote student's involvement In crime prevention through anonymity. If a student has knowledge of a crime that has occurred or is about to occur, we ask that they place this information in one of the Crime Stopper's Boxes that will be located on every hall. Students are not required to leave their names, unless they wish.
We have assigned officers to the Bennettsville Middle School and the Marlboro County High School to help in the prevention of crime and to educate students about the field of law enforcement. These officers are permanently assigned on a school year basis providing services to the students as well as staff and administration. Numerous classes are taught daily. The officers also provide a curriculum to help in the education of law enforcement.
Officer Read Program
This program is designed for Police Officers and Police Department Staff to go into the schools and assist in reading to the children Each officer will read for one (1) hour per week.
The School Administration feels that this will be a great help to the students. This program is also designed to enhance community relations between students and officers. It is a proactive approach to help encourage kids to see officers as their friends.