The Pembroke Police Department celebrated the opening of a new substation Tuesday at Miller Village.
The facility is located in space provided by the Claxton Housing Authority and give police a greater presence in the community, Police Chief Randy Alexander said.
“It lets them know we’re here to help them,” he said.
The station, now known as Station 2, was actually the site of a substation in the past. It includes space for police to do interviews, fill out reports and conduct other business. It also has a kitchen and bathroom.
“Patrol officers will man this station 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” PPD Sergeant Kelly Price said. “All patrol activities will be conducted out of the building, which is centrally located in the community. We feel very fortunate to be able to do this.”
Pembroke Mayor Mary Warnell and city council woman Kimberly McGhee were among those who attended Tuesday’s event, along with a number of Pembroke Police Auxiliary members.
McGhee called it a great idea.
“The citizens who in this area feel a whole lot safer now that there’s a station close to their homes,” she said.
Warnell said the substation gives police more square footage than they have in the department’s current downtown station while also reiterating a theme that ran throughout Tuesday’s event, which is the facility will give police more visibility.
“It just provides easier access for folks this side of town to get to a police station if they need to come by and talk to someone, and it’s an opportunity for the public to see they’re out in the community,” she said.
She said Station2 will remain manned even after the city’s planned public safety complex is built near the site of the current Bryan County Elementary School. The city purchased both the school and the 6.59 acre playground nearby from the Bryan County Board of Education in December for $1 million -- $812,500 for the school and $189,500 for the playground.
The school will be vacated once the new BCES is finished. A cost on the SPLOST-funded public safety complex has not been announced, and a design has not yet been finished, Warnell said.
“We’ve been waiting until we take ownership of the property,” Warnell said. “And then the architect will begin working with us to decide what fits the site best. It should be a major asset to Bryan County, not just our city but Bryan County as well.”
The substation, or precinct, is in an area in the city where calls to police tend to be more frequent than in other areas, and Pembroke Public Safety Director Bill Collins, a former police chief himself, said the facility is there for residents.
“Most of the people within this community are good people,” Collins said. “We’ve had problems with some, but we want to develop good relationships with all of them. We don’t want anything to be negative about our police department. We want all of this to be positive.”