HLAD to Focus on Disaster Response, Law Enforcement

​Hurricane Florence struck the Carolinas on September 14, moving slowly and bringing destructive flooding to many cities and towns. On October 3, a deadly mass shooting occurred in Florence County, killing two law enforcement officers, wounding an additional seven officers and five others.

SC Gov. Henry McMaster
Recently elected Gov. Henry McMaster will address HLAD attendees.
Photo: Office of the Governor.

While the fall of 2018 brought grave difficulties and heartaches to many of the state's first responders, the upcoming Hometown Legislative Action Day on February 5 will address some of the critical ways cities can respond to these challenges. Attendees will learn about the importance of a crisis communication plan as well as how law enforcement policies help agencies and residents alike.

The day will begin with an address from recently elected Gov. Henry McMaster. Before his election in November, McMaster had already served two years as governor. As lieutenant governor, he ascended to the office to complete former Gov. Nikki Haley's unexpired term when she resigned to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

The Municipal Association's legislative staff will present the legislative priorities for cities and towns at HLAD. These priorities emerged from the Association's efforts to gather input from municipal officials around the state. Following that process, the Association's board adopted three areas of focus on issues that directly affect all cities and towns: the Local Government Fund, accommodations and hospitality taxes, and law enforcement training.

A panel discussion at HLAD with public safety leaders will dig into the need for a well-conceived crisis communication plan and a prepared staff. These plans, which by definition go into practice in stressful and chaotic situations, can serve to protect impacted residents, foster trust between the responding agency and its constituents, and play a role in liability management.

SC Emergency Management Division Director Kim Stenson will also speak at HLAD, covering the emergency planning and response which have met recent major storm events like hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

Additionally, State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel will discuss the "best practice era" of law enforcement, a time of tremendous levels of public scrutiny in which carefully crafted policies and procedures, as well as training, play a vital role in agency operations. Policy work, as with crisis communications, can help agencies prevent damaging or expensive mistakes before they happen.

Get set for HLAD with the meeting app

This app connects meeting attendees with the agenda for both HLAD and the Municipal Elected Officials Institute and allows users to set a personalized schedule. Users will also be able to find more information about the presenters and the attendees. The app allows for notifications during the event and for internal social media so you can communicate with others at HLAD.

Downloading the app will work differently this year. Users will need to download Yapp and also follow a link on their phones. Users can send a link to the 2019 Hometown Legislative Action app to their email or phone number from  


HLAD will take place Tuesday, February 5 at the Columbia Marriott. The Municipal Elected Officials Institute, Advanced Institute and Advanced Continuing Education courses will take place Wednesday, February 6. The preregistration deadline is January 22, and on-site registration will also be available.