GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Extra police protection could soon be coming to the northern side of Gautier to help sweep drugs and crime out of the community. Those who live and work in that section of town say the plan is just what the area needs.
Gautier police want to turn an empty parsonage on grounds of Martin Bluff Baptist Church into a mini police station.
"I feel great about it," said Sharon Martin.
Martin lives across the street from the proposed substation. She said having more police nearby could help eliminate the constant crime in this area.
"My neighbor has been broken in several times. If we had cops across the street, I think all I would have to do is call 911 and they would be right here," Martin said.
A few blocks away at Martin Bluff Elementary, the principal believes dedicating more officers to this section of town can improve safety for her nearly 600 students and teachers.
"We are so removed from the central location of town, so this gives us an extra added level of security," Dr. Victoria Hoover said.
Police Chief Dante Elbin agrees.
"This was one of my goals to have a substation on the northern part of Gautier, because of the issues of Martin Bluff being there is only one thoroughfare in and out this area," said Elbin.
The city and church still have to iron out an agreement before Elbin and his police team can move in the parsonage.
"The sooner the better. If we can get this agreement worked out this weekend, we can start moving," said Elbin.
If everything works out with the agreement, this will be Gautier's second substation to open in one year. Elbin said the facility on the southeast side of town has been very successful in helping combat crime.
"It did help. We saw a need down there to put our presence in that area. We saw a need up here because of the issues after the storm. People were isolated after Katrina," Elbin said.
As for Martin, she plans to keep her fingers crossed for the new substation plans.
"I hope it works out, because I would like to see it come," said Martin.