Montgomery DPS SouthCentral Officially Opens, Ready For Use
The Montgomery Department of Public Safety's new SouthCentral office is now open.
It's a new precinct that will house the Montgomery fire and police departments. While adding the precinct is not only making history, nearby businesses hope it makes that part of the city safer.
The new precinct is at the old Montgomery Mall, which has been dormant for years, but it's also located in an area, police say, they get the most calls from. Businesses say the precinct has already made a difference.
For the last two years, signs to warn people who were thinking to commit a crime have been posted in front of Latina Robinson's BP gas station after it had been robbed several times.
"It's just feeling a little bit better and more safer knowing that they're right there and we don't have to wait like 20 or 30 minutes again for the police to get here," Said Robinson, who showed us the precinct, which was about two blocks away.
Now, it's a wider space for 142 officers.
"We're able to take something that was nothing and now create three times what we had across the street. And now we have individual bays and individual bunks so that we can have more female fire fighters," Said Montgomery Mayor, Todd Strange.
The fire department went from a double-wide trailer to a now 18,000 square foot facility. About 11,000 square feet consists of offices and classrooms, storage for firefighting gear. Firefighters will also have their own dorms, instead of sharing a room of bunk beds.
The police department will have interview rooms, multiple offices, a briefing room and even a holding cell.
Police Chief, Kevin Murphy, says most importantly, it will help reduce drive time to an area they get the most calls from.
"This corridor of the city actually has the greatest demand for police response, so us building a precinct here was not happenstance. It was very logically done," Said Murphy.
Murphy says that drive time will go down from 20 minutes to an average of about 4 minutes.
Public safety officials say during the next 60 days, fire and police units will be trained to use the new facility. They hope to add a new EMT unit in the near future.