Horry County police Chief Morgan retires after SLED investigation

Photo from South Carolina Police Cruisers

Just days after the Attorney General announced they would not take action on the Horry County police department after reviewing a SLED investigation, the Chief Johnny Morgan announced his retirement.

Johnny Morgan started his career as a City of Myrtle Beach police officer in 1971 and in 1974 he hired on as Horry County's 21st officer. In 1980, he moved into the detective division and worked his way up to Chief of Police in 2004. He is starting a leave of absence starting next week and African-American female Captain Saundra Rhodes will step in as Interim Chief. 

Chief Morgan issued the following public statement:

It is with mixed emotions that I am retiring as the Chief of Police with Horry County. My whole life has been in law enforcement and these fine men and women that serve to protect our County are my family and I will miss them.

It is a sad day, but on the other hand one I have been looking forward to. My intention was always to leave this year, however due to the SLED investigation I felt my retirement wasn’t even a thought until such time as the department was cleared and the case against the department was closed. That day has now come and it is time for me to leave.

I would like to thank the County for the many opportunities I have been afforded through my 38 years of employment with the Horry County Police Department. I am also grateful for a fulfilling career in which I was given every opportunity to make a difference in this great community.

Chief Johnny Morgan

WMBF News obtained the email Morgan sent to his staff before the public announcement. You can read that here. WPDE has a write-up and video here. For completeness, here's a link to WBTW's write-up.

Of all the local news coverage, only The Sun News points out the connection to Morgan's retirement and the SLED investigation. Read more here. While Morgan addresses the investigation in his statement and email, it doesn't clear up lingering questions about the whole strange sequence of events. The SLED investigation is also related to the sudden resignation of the Horry County administrator John Weaver a few months ago.  Read the whole backstory on the investigation here.

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