By SANDRA PRIEST
Special to the Progress
After years of making do in extremely cramped quarters, Ecru police officers will soon have a spacious 4,800 square-foot police department in which to conduct business. Located just behind town hall, the new 60 x 80 building is slated to be completed within the next few weeks. “We’re hoping to be in it by next court day, which is May 4,” speculates Police Chief Randy Wilson.
The department has been operating from a small office in Ecru Town Hall for several years. Mayor Tom Todd says, “They’re working out of about a 10 x 16 room right now, and an 8 x 10 evidence room–and that’s all we’ve had.” With a growing population to serve and four officers on staff, the department was sorely in need of more space in which to operate.
The new building is being funded through a matching grant made available by the Mississippi Development Authority. “Three Rivers contacted us about the grant last year,” Mayor Todd explains, “and we were approved in January.” The 80/20 match provided $80,000 for the project, with the stipulation that the town put up $20,000. “We already had the money,” says Alderwoman Pat Davis. “We had it set aside for capital outlay just in case we got a grant.”
The town also received a $5,000 grant from the Department of Public Safety to purchase radio equipment for the building.
Several items have been donated by members of the community for use in the police station. “Everybody’s excited about it,” comments Town Clerk Gretchin Moody.
The handicap-accessible facility will house two offices, an evidence room, a bay area to park the police cars, and a courtroom. There will also be a kitchenette and storage area.
“I’ll be tickled to death to get in it,” Chief Wilson remarks. He and Officer Mark Walker work full time for the department, while Chris Cook and Benny Moorman serve in a part time capacity. “We are ready to get into it.”