Lamar adds new police officer, prepares for holidays
By Samantha Lyles
At the Nov. 9 regular meeting of Lamar Town Council, Police Chief Carl Scott announced the hiring of a new officer, J. Hall, who previously worked with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office and City of Florence Police Department. With another officer on patrol, Scott said Lamar residents can expect to see a more regular police presence around town. The newly formed Neighborhood Watch is also proving a valuable ally in stemming criminal activity, Scott said, adding that the group is seeking more volunteers to fill out their ranks. “The Neighborhood Watch helps us out tremendously,” Scott said. “When we have any event that pops up, we immediately contact our council members and our Neighborhood Watch. They are diligent about making fliers and they normally get the information out within an hour of when they are notified. They get that information out to our stores and businesses. … It doesn’t matter what time of night, if I call they get moving to help us out.” Chief Scott spoke about new efforts to persuade property owners to clean up dilapidated structures that pose hazards to the community by harboring vagrants and criminals, creating fire risks, holding standing water which breeds mosquitos, or serving as breeding grounds for rodents. “These things are liability issues for the property owners,” Scott said, urging property owners to at least contact the police department and have the property posted as “Under the Jurisdiction of the Lamar Police Department” to discourage trespassers. Mayor Darnell Byrd McPherson suggested compiling names of home demolition companies and passing this information along to property owners who might be inclined to simply raze the structures rather than undertake expensive repairs. Chief Scott also issued a corrected number for the Lamar Police Department’s anonymous tip line. The number is 843-326-1449. Also at this meeting, council member Inez Lee previewed some of the events planned for the holiday season. Christmas on Main is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5, from 2-5 p.m., with vendors, food, and Santa Claus and a lighted parade at dusk. All proceeds and donations collected during this festival will be used to purchase and maintain Christmas decorations for the Town of Lamar. “Everybody is welcome,” said Lee. “Wear your mask, and we will be doing social distancing.” Lee said that a town cleanup is already underway, and she asked Lamar citizens to “brush up” around their own homes and businesses to help the town look its best. Mike McDonald of the Public Works Department said efforts are underway to locate manholes in the streets and construct a thorough and accurate map of the town’s sewer system. McDonald said some of the manholes were elusive, since they had been covered with asphalt by paving crews, but “the majority of them have been found.” He added that SC Rural Water representatives recently completed most of the smoke testing for the sanitary sewer system, which was supposed to identify points where storm water infiltrates the sewer lines. McDonald said that some infiltration is still occurring around the older manholes, which were constructed from permeable brick and mortar.