BEAUFORT, S.C. (March 23, 2021) – 2020 marked a year of change for the Beaufort Police Department, as longtime Chief Matthew J. Clancy passed away in July and new Chief Dale McDorman assumed command in November. Innovative practices in using non-lethal force were adopted, and a Data & Transparency page was added to the department’s website to provide the public with daily and monthly reports on citations, warnings, demographics, and types of crimes.
The department’s 2020 Annual Report covers everything from departmental staffing levels to professional standards to use of force innovations and crime statistics.
The 2020 Index Crime statistics offers a mixed picture in a time of Covid-induced restrictions:
Violent crime, including homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assault: 68 in 2020 compared to 58 in 2019 and a recent high of 92 in 2017.
Property crime, including burglaries, thefts, arsons, and motor vehicle thefts: 469 in 2020 compared to 460 in 2019 and a recent high of 858 in 2016.
Robbery: 5 in 2020 compared to 22 in 2019.
Aggravated assault: 57 in 2020 compared to 30 in 2019 and a recent high of 67 in 2017.
Motor vehicle theft: 21 in 2020 compared to 11 in 2019 and a recent high of 33 in 2017.
Arson: None in 2020, and none in 2019, compared to a recent high of 5 in 2017.
Police Chief Dale McDorman said an increase in domestic violence incidents, as well as people being more cooped up in general due to Covid-19 restrictions, may be behind the rise in assaults.
In 2020, the department made 491 arrests, while completing 1,649 uniform crime reports sent to the FBI. In traffic enforcement, the department issued 2,226 citations, 1,760 warnings, and made 38 arrests for driving under the influence.
The department introduced two new use-of-force options: the Bola Wrap and Gracie Survival Tactics training. The Bola Wrap, which was used once in 2020 to subdue a man who appeared to want officers to shoot him, restricts a suspect’s movements long enough for an officer to handcuff him. Gracie Survival Tactics is a series of jiu-jitsu defensive tactics.
In 2020, the department had to use force – meaning to gain compliance with a subject – 20 times – once with the Bola Wrap, and 19 times using what is known as “empty hand control,” using hands to control a subject.
Chief McDorman said the Police Department plans to restart a Community Response Team, comprised of several officers. “This team will focus more on crime prevention, including attending neighborhood crime watch meetings and holding seminars for business owners on crime prevention,” he said. “We also plan a stepped-up presence in crime ‘hot spots.’ This will allow us to stay ahead of what might be developing trends.”
McDorman said he was very proud of his department, and its accomplishments in the past year.
Beaufort Police Department 2020 Annual Report