New Law Enforcement Home?

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

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.

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  • by Joe Location: Meridian on Mar 25, 2010 at 08:35 AM
    Something totally different. Why does county dogcatcher take a county vehicle home every day especially when it's not even setup for the job. Waste of taxpayers money 1 of many examples. I don't believe that's an emergency vehicle...
  • by Lady Location: Meridian on Mar 23, 2010 at 02:00 PM
    To bad they can't buy the property of the old mall and build there. They could tear the old mall down and build, have lots of parking and lots of room to expand in the future. Maybe room for a new jail, and the court house could move there also, have the Meridian Police dept, county sheriffs office, all of the court house stuff and jail's on one site.
  • by RR Location: home on Mar 22, 2010 at 05:55 PM
    I don't consider it a move backwards,I would love to see it happen.It would be a move backwards to not do it.But that is why Meridian is moving backwards,by doing nothing. As you can see by the comments the opposition is lining up already.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 22, 2010 at 08:41 AM
    I think it is a good idea to have both housed together but not in the Sears building. I think the unseen cost of renovating this building would mirror those of city hall. I bet we could have built a nice new city hall with 17 million dollars and maybe even a police/sheriff office. Instead we got the same old building with a huge price tag. I say buy the property, tear the building down and build something new.
  • by MPD Supporter on Mar 22, 2010 at 07:39 AM
    I think it's a wonderful idea. If you have ever been in the Laud Co. Sherriff's office or the MPD office it's crowded and run down! These men and women are risking their lives, the least we can do is give them a decent place to conduct their business. WTG Cheri and others for this one! As far as your comment Meridianite.We don't need that kind of thing, know why, it won't last. Everything you mentioned we already have, just not in one spot.What's wrong with seeing a police station when you come into town. I think it's a sign of security. Why do you consider this moving backwards RR? PS I still love the smoking ban!
  • by James Location: Meridian on Mar 22, 2010 at 05:56 AM
    Doesn't renovating old buildings nowadays run into costly-to-fix environmental and health hazard problems that was unheard of at the time the building was constructed? Those problems make it cheaper to just tear the building down and build one anew that is up to today's environmental and health protection standards? I can remember a 'do it yourself' room tiling project where I worked, intended to be cheaply done by employees, ran into a costly environmental and health hazard problem--when it was discovered the old tile contained asbestos, a costly special asbestos tile removing business had to be called in to remove the old tile. In fact, I believe I once heard that one major problem in turning the old Sears building into any business or office IS that very same thing.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 22, 2010 at 05:38 AM
    To Meridianite,I don't understand the "Nothing to do people."I go as hard as I can just about everyday.I work,I volunteer,I do crafts,I attend concerts,I go to church functions,I work with some local young people,& I can't get to everything I want & think I need to do.It's that time of year when I want to start a garden,Ah,fresh vegetables from my own yard, but there's no time.Not having something to do is not looking for something to do.Granted,I have slowed down some in the past few years but this was true 20 years ago when I first moved to Meridian.How about following me for a few days & then complain about nothing to do.I have chronic health problems that include chronic pain that most people who know me don't have a clue about & I take enough pills to hear me rattle when I walk,just so I can. Life is good & full if you just look around.Don't blame the town for being bored, blame yourself for not getting off your "duff" & getting active.One problem,when I get still I fall asleep.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 22, 2010 at 12:14 AM
    Where is the money going to come from to remodel the facility? The Mayor stated that the money was there. Let me guess, the Meridian Police Department seized funds account? Hmmmmm, just how much money is in there?
  • by Tom Location: Meridian on Mar 21, 2010 at 07:25 PM
    until we have one government they will never work efficiently... to much IM IN CHARGE..or Whos going to pay for what.... City folks pay city and county taxes but get little from the county inside fo the city...The old Mall has enough property they could build their own buildings and stil be around each other..
  • by John Location: Lauderdale County on Mar 21, 2010 at 07:04 PM
    If this building is so great then why has it been vacant for so many years? Why did Sears leave in the first place? The current police department was opened in the 70's this building was constructed in the late 60's. ????? Is this not moving back? The last time I was in this building it was Sears and it was open for business. (Many Years Ago) It was in terrible shape then. I am sure the owner has not been pouring any money into it. This is so typical for Meridian and Lauderdale County. This is why we always seem to go backwards. We have 2 major interstates/2 major railroads/ and the longest airport runway in the State of MS. One should ask themselves why do we have a city population of approx 38,000 and a total county population of approx 80,000 with all of this infrastructure. This is one clear example of DUMB ideas that send us backwards. City and County Govt should work together to bring jobs here. Meridian has alot to offer employers who would want to call Meridian home.
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