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Board settles on new location for Police Dept.

Following efforts to find alternative locations, Brookhavenaldermen voted Tuesday to move forward with plans to relocate thePolice Department to the old Mississippi Highway Patrol substationon Highway 51.

During earlier discussions on the matter, aldermen suggestedselling the MHP property and applying funds toward a new facility.Mayor Bob Massengill and Police Chief Pap Henderson have beenlooking for other sites, but last night indicated that approach wasnot feasible.

“Financially at this particular time, we’re just running short,”Henderson said.

Henderson repeated assurances that his department’s locationwould not impact patrol operations and that citizens could expectthe same level of service as they currently receive with thedepartment located at the government complex.

Citing issues with the current location and an inability to finda site for a new facility, Henderson and Massengill advised theboard the best course of action would be to renovate the MHPbuilding. The mayor said the city has budgeted $150,000 for therenovation plus has a $61,000 grant to use for the BPD move.

“That gives us a lot of money to begin renovations,” saidMassengill, who cautioned that additional money would be needed infuture years.

Massengill said “significant renovations” would be needed.Henderson said he hoped to be able to have the MHP site renovatedfor occupancy in less than a year.

“We need the room,” said Henderson, alluding to limited space atthe law enforcement complex.

Alderman at large Les Bumgarner questioned the impact ofannexation on police department needs. Ward Five Alderman D.W.Maxwell agreed.

“If we’re going to spend money on something, we need to makesure it lasts for a long time,” Maxwell said.

Other aldermen, however, said the MHP facility could be used formany more years – without the expense of having to build a newfacility. With that, aldermen voted unanimously to move forwardwith renovation of the MHP building.

In other action during the lengthy but rather routine meeting,aldermen recognized members of the Brookhaven Fire Department fortheir years of service.

Firefighters honored included Chief Bob Watts, 36 years; MartyBeeson, 28 years; Randy Sykes, 25 years; Mikel Fairman, 25 years;James Dykes, 22 years; Ferman Freeman, 21 years; Darrell Davis, 21years; Robert Thibodeaux, 21 years; Tony Weeks, 21 years; CharlesFrancis, 20 years; Billy Beeson, 20 years; Ray Allen, 19 years;Scotty Smith, 19 years; Buddy Thibodeaux, 16 years; DonaldSterling, 15 years; Eric Smith, 12 years; Andre Spiller, 11 years;Andrew Graham, eight years; Jeff Ainsworth, seven years; and SteveDavis, six years.

Following an executive session for reasons of personnel andproperty negotiation, aldermen voted to terminate a streetdepartment employee due to insubordination and voted to accept alease-purchase agreement on the speculative building. LincolnCounty supervisors Monday approved a similar agreement for SolaFide to use the speculative building in the Industrial Park.