Letter From Folly Police Chief, Andrew Gilreath

Friends,

Is it June already!?  This last month or so has been tough… The tragic crash/fatality on E. Ashley Ave has placed a heavy weight on the community.  Many who know me, know that I do not do social media.  I have not for a very long time, and I cannot say that I miss it at all.  That said, I am aware and often advised of things that are being said on social media.  Many of the things are either just not true or are mis-informed.  I appreciate the many citizens who have taken the time to reach out and ask us directly.  It means a lot to me and I appreciate the communication.  Here are some things that I wanted to clarify:

Traffic Enforcement:  We do it, a lot (and have been for months).  This crash, and any speeding violations you observe are happening in spite of this hard work.  So, all the “just stop some cars and write some tickets and it will stop” comments… That isn’t supported by fact.  For perspective, here are factoids I recently learned; a speeding ticket was written within the first year of cars being on the roadways (a blazing 8 mph violation).  Since the very beginning of cars operating on our roadways in the late 1800’s there has been speeding.  Another fact: President Teddy Roosevelt got arrested for speeding in a carriage after getting a warning prior by a DC police officer.   

I say that not to downplay the seriousness of speeding, but to point out that until we as individuals decide to slow down, speeding will continue no matter how many tickets are written.  The police cannot push on someone’s brake or let up on someone’s accelerator.  It is a choice they must make on their own.  Often, when we write a speeding ticket to someone… it isn’t their first ticket.  So, they have gotten one (or many) and continued to speed.    Here are facts:  Since January 1st, 2023 to May 23rd, 2023 your Folly Beach officers have made 1,397 Traffic Stops/Enforcement Actions.  That is up 710 from last year.  We even offer overtime in addition to those on patrol to augment this effort.  We will continue this effort.  We redeployed a second speed trailer to remind folks of the speed and track statistics.  We are working with outside agencies to have more patrol coverage, and we are an active participant in the redesigns and DOT safety audit that is underway.  We are an open book.  I am happy to speak to any citizen, listen to ideas, thoughts, concerns, etc.  We may not be able to be everywhere at once… but I can promise you that we are giving it great effort.

As always, if you see something, say something… we need your assistance.

-Andrew

Chief Andrew Gilreath

agilreath@follybeach.gov