Recent violence in highland park has given the area a reputation as place that's unsafe. But the mayor and City Council say that's soon to change. They say this weekend's Meridianite Picnic serves as an example of what's to come.
"Highland Park can and will be a safe park," Mayor Percy Bland says. "The more events we have there, the more police presence in that area, the more people are going to feel comfortable and safe, and that's what we plan on having for this entire community."
During their meeting, the city council praised the efforts of the meridian police department throughout the picnic. Council President Dustin Markham says he agrees the park needs more community events, an effort he says is especially important for our youth.
"The more activities we have in our parks, the more we know where our kids are, the more we know they're engaging in positive things and displaying positive behaviors," Markham says. "If we don't have that, then we leave idle minds with the potential of doing things that are unsavory to the public."
Meridian police will be employing many of the same techniques from the picnic at those future events. The mayor says you'll see more efforts from the police to engage the community and be more readily available.
"We're going to try to continue to do more community policing and also to have other sites, police sites, satellite sites in our community," he says.
Meridian police brought in bike and foot patrols for the picnic, and Mayor Bland says we'll be seeing more of that. He and Markham credit a lot of the success from this past weekend to those patrols.
"We need to have a lot more either bike patrols, officers on horses, officers in cars, officers on foot," Markham says. "The more we have, the safer our communities feel."