Meridian Police Department and Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department have both been looking for a new home for quite some time. It turns out, they might find that home together.
A proposal would move both entities to the long-vacant Sears building on 22nd Avenue in Meridian. It will take some work, but both sides seem positive about the idea.
"So that we can combine services, which would be police department, sheriff's department, drug court, maybe youth detention facility," said Mayor Cheri Barry. "A port on the back for prisoners and possibly three court rooms. It would all be under one roof, so therefore, we would be saving a lot of taxpayer dollars."
The old Sears building is bigger than one might think. It's actually 88,000 square feet on about 8 acres of land. Mayor Barry said she expects it to give city and county agencies the space they need.
"The police department is about 30 to 40 years old and I'd say it's in deplorable condition," Barry said. "And I would like to be able to give our new police officers and staff a new home so that they can have respect for themselves, and therefore, better serve the people of this community. The sheriff's department is cramped."
The project will need financing. There isn't an exact total yet, but officials say the funds are there.
The possibility of a shared facility is supported by Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie. He says it will be good for sharing information.
The Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors has already approved the project with a 4-1 vote. The Meridian City Council sent the mayor's office a letter of support.