0

BOC to consider Ellenwood police precinct

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) wants to lease property for a temporary police precinct at the Ellenwood Town Center, off Anvil Block Road.

A vote on the matter is expected at tonight's regular business meeting.

A resolution introduced by District 1 Commissioner Sonna Singleton proposes a lease agreement with Ellenwood Town Center for property at 3056 Anvil Block Road, to be used as a precinct for the Clayton County Police Department.

The Ellenwood area is slated to receive a new police precinct as part of the 2008 Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), according to Singleton. She said residents of the area have requested greater police coverage in the area during the interim.

"Of course, in the SPLOST, we have allocated funds to build a new police station," Singleton said. "The people, however, are asking for more police presence ... better response time. We decided to come up with a temporary solution until we get this precinct built."

There has been no information provided regarding the size of the force that would be detached to the area. Singleton said, if approved, 3,000 square feet of space will be leased by the county for $3,000 a month, with the first three months free of charge. She said the precinct will enable police to respond to incidents in the Ellenwood area without having to travel from some 12 miles away, from the county's north police precinct, located in Riverdale.

"We have the Ellenwood Town Center out there [in the Ellenwood]. We also have a lot of warehouses in that district. The more we build out there, the more police presence we need out there," Singleton added.

BOC Chairman Eldrin Bell said he has concerns about the impact the new precinct would have on police resources, and the county budget.

"I need to know what that would mean for the overall personnel, the impact on the budget ... I just need to know more," Bell said. "As usual, we put things on, without the proper amount of discussion, so we operate in a vacuum. If you expand an agency to deliver more services, you put a strain on the agency. I would've liked to see us have an open discussion before we had brought it to this point."

Police Department spokesperson, Lt. Tina Daniel, said a temporary precinct in the Ellenwood area would help cut down on officer-response times.

"It will not be spreading us thin," she said. "We'll be patrolling the area, anyway. [With the new precinct], if we get a call in Ellenwood, the officers won't have to travel from one side of the county to the other."

The board will meet at 7 p.m., at the Clayton County Administration Building, located at 112 Smith St., in Jonesboro.