PENDLETON, S.C. (WSPA) – The town of Pendleton is close to having police back patrolling their streets for the first time in more than a decade.
Pendleton leaders dissolved their police department over 11 years ago for budget cuts. Now their new department is preparing to start patrolling again.
The new Chief Doyle Burdette says they are still in the planning stages, but they’re already building relationships in the community.
“In a community that doesn’t help their police and support their police, of course there is problems,” he said. “But we don’t have that here from what I’ve seen.”
The town dissolved their last department in 2004. Until June of 2014, Anderson County Deputies were patrolling their area, until their contract was ended.
Then after a year without any police presence, business owners and people living their started missing the security of having officers on their streets.
“They would come in and try to introduce themselves, talk to us. You just get that they are part of the town family,” Terri Brooks, of The Mercantile store downtown, said. “They know us already and so it is like coming home.”
Last summer the town approved a plan to renew the department. Not long after, Chief Burdette was put in charge. He hired two officers with similar experience to his. All three are veterans of Upstate Law enforcement and of the U.S. military.
For months Chief Burdette has been planning and getting the department ready to take over. So far, he says the planning is going well.
The department has already been knocking on doors and asking how they can make the community safer.
“The folks, you are going to see us. We will be in the businesses and neighborhoods and you will see us,” he said.
Once the department begins their work, they plan on keeping a presence on the streets and targeting complaints on drug problems and speeding.
“The police department is just the enforcement arm of the government in the community and with community help; there is nothing we can’t do,” Chief Burdette added. “When we start, it is not going to be fixed in a day. We ask for the citizens for time to get our feet wet and with recent amount of time, they should see results.”
The Police Chief doesn’t have an exact date of when they will be taking over the city limits again but he’s hoping it won’t be much longer.