D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - D'Iberville is a small town with big retail.
And, now, the D'Iberville Police Department has a new tool in the tool box to protect a huge industry in the city that attracts people from all over the region.
Drinx is wide open for business at the Promenade in D'Iberville. Although manager Jason Wright feels safe in this 60-store shopping center, he knows a good relationship with the police is a good insurance policy.
"It always pays because you get better safety; a better sense of, you know, they've got your back," Wright said.
The police department now has a new Retail Crimes Unit, thanks to a $175,000 state Justice Assistance Grant and funds from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
"It does make feel a lot safer, just knowing that you know, they're going to be out here a lot more. And, it's good for all these stores," added Wright.
The unit is under the Criminal Investigations Division. Investigator Terry Joiner was once a one-man show. Now, he and two patrol officers are dedicated full time to retail crime.
"D'Iberville Police Department, as well as the business in D'Iberville, have always had a great relationship which was what made this program so successful. And it will just take off from the ground up and will continue to be successful," said Joiner.
Leo DeGeorge is one of the new patrol officers.
"I think it's wonderful. We combat retail crimes, which in turn will allow more merchants to feel safer to bring their business to our city, which will allow more revenue to be generated, which will help the entire city all around."
The unit takes a burden off other officers. It's given both merchants and shoppers a sense of security.
"We feel safer at night," said Carla Lassen, manager of Kirkland's. "And we work, I work, a lot of nights here. The added security with this program they implemented really does help us a lot."
Added shopper Jerica Dunaway, "A lot of my shopping's done in the evening - the dark hours - and it does make me feel a lot safer. I've seen them out here and I don't have to worry about a thing."