Folly Beach officials asked for help on July 4, it never came

Letter from Folly Beach to SLED asking for enforcement help on July 4

By Lia

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) - There won't be an investigation into the city's handling of the 4th of July on Folly Beach. Last month during a town council meeting, a citizen asked for there to be an internal investigation, but because of costs, that will not happen.

Elton Culpepper says he asked for the investigation because he believes the preparation for the holiday was not there. He wanted to know specifically why there wasn't the extra help from constables as in years past.

"The public safety director will tell you himself he knows they were understaffed. The question is when did you know you were going to be understaffed, and what did you do about it beforehand?" Culpepper said.

Before this fight on the edge of America even erupted and before the ban of alcohol on Folly Beach, the Public Safety Department sent a letter to the State Law Enforcement Division, also known as SLED, asking for constables to work alongside officers on July 4th.

The letter was submitted on June 21st.

According to a SLED spokesperson, the staff member who signs off on those requests was on vacation when the request arrived. Those dates were June 18th to July 2nd.

He explained SLED had sent a memo notifying all state agencies about getting their requests in prior to those dates.

Folly Beach Public Safety Chief Dennis Brown argues they never got the message.

"The initial vacation-leave email from SLED was not sent to our normal contact person. We have established internal controls to reduce the possibility of this happening again."

A SLED spokesperson says in hindsight, someone else could have signed off on the request.

Chief Brown says staff called SLED on a daily basis after the letter was sent in an attempt to get the approval for the constables.

The chief tells us that the approval letter finally came on July 6th.

Both SLED and Folly Police say they have talked about communicating better between the two departments.