South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has ordered the evacuation of Charleston and Beaufort Counties as Hurricane Matthew barrels toward the east coast. A press release sent out by the governor late Wednesday morning says residents and visitors in Charleston and Beaufort Counties should begin evacuating no later than 3 p.m. Wednesday. The governor’s office says the scope of evacuations could expand to other areas on Thursday as the storm approaches.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Hurricane Matthew is classified as a category 3 hurricane with winds of about 120 mph. The storms has already made landfall twice, first in Haiti and then in Cuba. The storm is expected to hit South Carolina Saturday morning, and cross the border into North Carolina early Sunday.
In North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency for more than half of the state’s counties. Parts of the outer banks began evacuating around 5 a.m. Wednesday. Emergency officials are preparing for 4 to 8 inches of rain in southeastern parts of the state with heavier rainfall in some coastal communities.
CMPD Will ‘Review’ Policies For Possible Changes
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says it’s reviewing several policy change recommendations from advocacy and interest groups. In the short term, CMPD says it’s committed to making a number steps, which the department detailed in a news release. They include:
• Solidify and make public the department’s procedure for releasing body worn camera footage, so there is a consistent and transparent process moving forward.
• Continue making preparations to equip tactical officers with body worn cameras. Patrol officers and tactical officers will wear body worn cameras both while working on and off duty assignments, as soon as additional cameras are purchased and officers are trained.
• Continue discussing the possibility of subpoena powers for the Citizens Review Board with its External Advisory Committee. Note: This change would require legislative action.
• Review policies, procedures and training related to de-escalation techniques. We will continue to refine our response to protest situations, emphasizing communication with lawful protesters through the use of bicycle and regularly-uniformed officers. CMPD will continue to authorize the use of protective equipment only in response to violence, property damage and non-compliance.
Police Chief Kerr Putney says the department is inviting an independent research organization called The Police Foundation to review the department’s policies and procedures, gather input from residents, and recommend changes.
“We are open to making changes in how we do business,” Putney said in a statement, “But I will not make impulsive decisions in response to demands. Any changes we make in our policies or procedures will be thoroughly, deliberately and thoughtfully considered.”