Lt. Tommy Dennis

Lt. Tommy Dennis will perform the duties of chief of police for the city of North Myrtle Beach until a new chief is named. Courtesy, city of North Myrtle Beach. 

North Myrtle Beach has named Lt. Tommy Dennis as the city’s interim police chief after former Chief Greg Purden resigned in March to go back to his home state of Florida.

Dennis, originally from Camden, graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1996 with a degree in criminal justice and joined North Myrtle Beach police in 1997.

“I had family here and that’s what kind of helped me get started here,” said Dennis, who’s married with two kids. “I wanted to work at the beach. If I was gonna do it, this is where I wanted to do it at.” 

Dennis said he always wanted to be a police officer in order to help others, and said the job is a rewarding experience.

“It’s just one of those things I wanted to do as a teenager,” he added. “I wanted to keep my nose clean, so I worked towards it.” 

Since joining the department in 1997, Dennis has served as a public safety officer, detective, sergeant and now lieutenant.

“Tommy is well-liked and effective at working with all types of people,” said Public Safety Director Jay Fernandez. “He has developed into a good and fair-minded leader in the department and the community. We are excited to have Tommy take on these interim duties.” 

City spokesperson Pat Dowling said the city has no plans to look for a new chief until at least after Labor Day. And Dennis could be a candidate. “That’s the goal,” Dennis added.

“Everyone I work with is great, and they’re a great group of people,” Dennis said. “I want to let people know that. A lot of time they don’t get credit that they deserve. We’ve got a great group of officers here in the city and I want to help them too.” 

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