Plans for this year’s Atlantic Beach Bikefest during Memorial Day weekend are shaping up to look a lot like 2015. But new crime-fighting tools like static license plate readers in Myrtle Beach and an interactive city map linked through a QR (Quick Reader) code to help people navigate the heavily trafficked streets are in the works.
Dozens of law enforcement, rescue personnel, medical professionals and government leaders gathered inside the Myrtle Beach General Aviation Terminal on Tuesday morning to catch up on plans and coordinate efforts in providing safety through the Memorial Day weekend event.
“Create a safe environment for the community, Bikefest participants and the public safety personnel working this event. That is first and foremost what we’re trying to do,” said Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster.
Myrtle Beach police Chief Warren Gall told city leaders last month that the stationary license plate readers his department ordered should be up and running by Memorial Day. Police said they needed the readers to help alert them to when vehicles linked to criminal cases enter or exit the city. MB police were set to order 42 readers to cover 42 lanes of traffic entering or exiting the city at eight major gateways.
Create a safe environment for the community, Bikefest participants and the public safety personnel working this event. That is first and foremost what we’re trying to do.
Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster
On Tuesday, Gall said the department is continuing to host weekly meetings with the city’s business community to keep merchants and their staffs apprised of Bikefest plans.
“We’re also meeting as often as we can with our neighborhood watches, getting them prepared,” he said.
The department continues to work on a mapping application (app) to help tourists and residents know how to get around during the traffic-congested holiday weekend.
Gall said they are also starting to receive the Memorandums of Understanding agreements they sent to partnering agencies for additional resources and manpower. “It looks like the numbers (of extra officers) are going to be about stable from last year,” he said.
Other law enforcement department leaders throughout the county said at the meeting that their plans also continue to look a lot like last year’s protocols.
Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said that the county plans to continue the “know before you go” campaign used last year, disseminating information to the public through updated videos, social media and S.C. Department of Transportation message boards.
The next task force meeting is set for 10 a.m. March 16 at the Myrtle Beach General Aviation Terminal on Airdrome Avenue.
Reach Weaver at 843-444-1722 or follow her on Twitter @TSNEmily.