BPD move plans behind schedule

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 11, 2008

Members of the Brookhaven Police Department are still lookingforward to moving to their new home, in spite of the fact that theproject might be running a little behind schedule.

After a decision was made by the city early last year to movethe police department to the old Mississippi Highway Patrolbuilding on Highway 51, the project has run into a couple ofhangups. Police Chief Pap Henderson said he and his staff arewaiting patiently.

“We’re excited,” he said. “We’re ready for it to happen.”

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Henderson said there had been some issues to be corrected on theblueprints and arrangements with the architect, which had slowedthe progress of the project.

In addition, said Public Works Director Steve Moreton, thebuilding has certain USDA guidelines that need to be met before theconstruction cannot only be complete, but also get under way atall.

“We’re doing asbestos abatement, that’s what we’re waiting on,”he said. “And we also have some other USDA guidelines we need to bein compliance with.”

While there had originally been hopes that the new office wouldbe finished by summer, it appears it could be the end of the yearbefore Brookhaven’s finest are in their new habitat.

Moreton said when the construction starts, the first things tobe updated will be the innards of the building.

“They’ve got to block up some windows,” he said. “And they’vegot to do the sheetrock in the ceilings, as well as upgrade theplumbing, electrical and mechanical workings in there.”

Henderson said it’s much awaited, not because they don’t likebeing where they are now, but because they’ll be happy for morespace.

“It’s strictly and simply that we are out of room,” he said.”When the building was built, it was designed for X number ofofficers at that time, and we’ve grown. We’re out of room foreverything.”

He said things have gone very smoothly during the time his menand women have shared space with the Lincoln County Sheriff’sDepartment, but that quarters are getting tight.

“It’s a beautiful atmosphere over here, and our workingrelationship with the sheriff’s department is very good,” he said.”But in order to do certain things in law enforcement and upgradeyour equipment and technology and things, you have to have the roomto do it.”

The major project, as Henderson sees it, is the evidence room.He said that tops his list of things BPD desperately needs a largerversion of. And for privacy reasons, the new department will havean interrogation room.

“The renovations will make us able to do that in a proper way,”he said. “A main concern is juveniles, because it’s hard to bringthem in and out and they’re crossing paths with adults. Especiallywith juveniles, privacy laws are important.”

There will be adjustments for everyone when BPD is in a newlocation, Henderson said, but the pluses outweigh the minuses.

“It’s going to take adjusting to because it’s not just a walk upto city hall to get things done anymore, and it will be anadjustment for them because they can’t just walk down either,” hesaid.

And while some downtown Brookhavenites have expressed concernthat the police station might not seem as close as it does now whenit’s over on Highway 51, Henderson said there’s nothing to worryabout.

“We’ll still have the same service and protection,” he said.”The location of the building is all that will change. We just wanteveryone to stand behind us and be excited for us.”