• 79°

Police hoping for new ‘home’

Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson simply points down thehall while discussing reasons for wanting to move his departmentfrom the law enforcement complex to the former Mississippi HighwayPatrol substation on Highway 51.

Down the hall is the the dispatch room, the chief’s office,three detectives’ offices and a small room for street officers todo their paperwork. An evidence closet and an alcove with arefrigerator are off to one side.

“We need more room,” Henderson said. “All you see is what we’vegot.”

Since the highway patrol moved to its new substation on Highway84, police and city officials have been planning the relocation tothe Highway 51 building.

“It’s at a standstill,” Henderson said.

The chief said officials are determining what’s needed for themove. Also, he has received approval from the board of aldermen forcontractors to look at developing plans for renovation.

“That’s where we’re at now. We haven’t completed that yet,”Henderson said.

The city must also formally take possession of the highwaypatrol property from the state. A timetable for that deed work isuncertain.

Henderson did not have any cost estimates. He expected thoseestimates in the near future and said he will ask for relocationfunding in the city’s new year budget.

The chief indicated that moving costs could be lessened byofficers who have carpentry and other skills helping with therenovation.

“They’re so excited about the move, they’ve offered to do someof the work themselves,” Henderson said.

A major benefit of a move, Henderson said, it that there’s roomfor expansion at the MHP.

“We don’t have the room we need to do the job and do it theright way,” Henderson said.

A non-space related concern is water leaks in the department,which is located under the jail. Henderson pointed to a hole in theceiling where a leak had destroyed a tile.

“It’s been a leak like that ever since I can remember,”Henderson said.

In rainy periods, a bucket to catch dripping water is a commonsight. The work area leak is not the only one in thedepartment.

“The leaks we can’t tolerate are the ones right above ouroffices,” Henderson said.

Henderson mentioned incidents were water fell on officers’ paperwork and also damaged equipment.

“You don’t know when you leave when you might get called backbecause the office is flooded,” Henderson said.

Henderson stressed that he was not blaming anyone for the waterproblems. However, he said a bad building design has created an”embarrassing” situation when visitors come to the department.

“We’re paying for it,” Henderson said.

The police department currently shares space in the lawenforcement complex with the sheriff’s department. Much of the restof the building was renovated when the county built the new jailseveral years ago.

David Fields, Lincoln County administrator, attributed the leakproblems to a flat roof design and a drain that goes near where thelaw enforcement complex and the government complex meet.

Fields said the police department was not alone in enduringwater leaks. Water stains on several government complex lobbyceiling tiles are evident, and part of the circuit courtroomceiling collapsed due to leak several months ago.

“It’s the same thing we’re having up here,” Fields said. “We’retrying to work some grants to put on a pitched roof.”

A police department move would leave open space in the lawenforcement complex. Fields said the county has no plans for thespace, but anticipated it could be filled.

“I’m sure somebody would come up and say they could use thespace,” Fields said.