BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's a move to speed-up response time and give officers a stronger presence in east Biloxi. This weekend, the Biloxi Police Department will dedicate a new substation. For 15 years, there's been a Biloxi Police substation on the west end of town at Edgewater Mall, but never on the east side. That changed when the police department found the right location and got a deal on a building it just couldn't refuse.
It's not in the most visible location and there's just enough room for some office furniture and computer equipment. But a tiny building on Lee Street gives Biloxi Police officers just the space they need for a substation.
"I think it just makes the community feel safer. It also gives the officers a place where they can get out, stretch, do their reports without having to go all the way back to the police department. It certainly saves time. It saves gas," said Biloxi Police Chief John Miller.
Plus, officers who cover areas from Point Cadet to Caillavet Street now have a place to meet privately with citizens, and they can stay closer to their beats.
"If an officer has to leave his beat to go to the station to pick up paperwork, drop off paperwork, do computer work, certainly if he's away from his beat, it's going to make the response time longer," said Miller.
The quicker response time is reassuring to neighbors like Andre Odom, who worries about his mother while he's away at work.
"Dealing with the old people in our neighborhood, it should help them out a lot, because there's a lot of vandalism in our community," said Odom. "It's a good idea dealing with the crime in Biloxi. It'll help the community, because they need something like this in the neighborhood."
Realizing the need for a substation in east Biloxi, the Salvation Army agreed to let the police department use half of an old storage building, absolutely free. The agency even provided the furniture and covered the utilities and internet service.
"We want the police to be here more. They need a place to go to, so we had the capability. It just made sense for us to do this for them," said Erin Darche, Salvation Army Kroc Center Director of Operations. "We can call them at a drop of a hat and they're right across the street. It's a win-win situation."
The Biloxi Police Department will host a grand opening celebration for the substation on Saturday from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM. It's located on Lee Street and Division Street, right behind the old Mary's Drive-Inn restaurant. The event is open to the public.