With the stroke of a pen Thursday morning, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson signed a ceremonial lease that will move the Mobile Police Department’s First Precinct to Dauphin Island Parkway.
The move not only puts the precinct headquarters closer to the heart of the area it serves, but it will also allow MPD to conduct a third cadet class per year.
“One of the biggest challenges we have is recruiting and retaining our officers,” Stimpson said at a press conference. “Currently, because of limited facilities we have only been able to do two classes per year.”
The precinct, which will take up a large chunk of a strip center on DIP, will include additional classrooms for academy cadets and rooms for community meetings as well.
“Way before I got on council, citizens had been talking about a precinct on Dauphin Island Parkway,” Councilman C.J. Small said. “Many times the citizens of DIP feel like they’ve been forgotten about. This precinct will bring about more police visibility and better community interaction.”
The current precinct building on Virginia Street will not be abandoned, interim MPD Chief Roy Hodge said. It will become the new home of the traffic division. The new traffic division HQ will be renovated to serve its new purpose, he said, and will provide greater access to the area’s thoroughfares, which should result in faster response times for officers.
Unlike the current structure, Hodge said, the new precinct will be specifically built out to be a police precinct. The current precinct moved to its current location in 1991. It was a former telephone company building, he said.
“The new facility will be purpose built,” Hodge said.
The building the city plans to lease on DIP is owned by the Julien Marx Foundation Trust. Bill Youngblood, a representative of the trust, spoke in favor of the move.
“We hope this move will spark improvement and development along the peninsula down here and we think it will,” he said.
The move will need approval from the Mobile City Council. It will be placed on the board’s meeting agenda this week and could be voted on as early as Tuesday.
This story was edited on Friday, June 11 to clarify that the lease was ceremonial.
This page is available to our local subscribers. Click here to join us today and get the latest local news from local reporters written for local readers. The best deal is found by clicking here. Check it out now.