Ocean Springs Looking At Public Safety Options - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Ocean Springs Looking At Public Safety Options

A jail inside the police department that holds a dozen inmates, two to a cell and overall cramped quarters are what Ocean Springs police employees work in everyday. 

"Office space is encroaching on the actual jail facility itself within the building and it just doesn't make for a good work environment," says Chief Kerry Belk.

So the city is looking at funding choices for a new public safety complex.

An unsuccessful $11 million bond issue in Ocean Springs last year would have paid for a new recreation complex and public safety center. Now city leaders are looking at a different approach. 

They say the estimated $6 million could come from another bond issue or by the city spending general obligation bonds.

Mayor Connie Moran wants it built on Highway 90. 

"I think there's a lot to be said about having our first responders centrally located with the fire department and the police department, court facilities also our emergency operations center would be there. And I think we all learned as a result of Hurricane Katrina those logistics really matter," Moran says.

Another idea is joining in with Jackson County if the supervisors decide to build a new adult detention center. That has been talked about since the ADC is so overcrowded. But Mayor Moran is concerned about timing. 

"How long it will take before such a facility is constructed. In the meantime we're doing with what we have, but it's getting to the point where I think this board would like to move forward."

That's what Chief Belk would like too. 

"I think it would be to Ocean Springs' advantage to start this process with having our own lock down facility or jail facility."

With that goal in mind, Mayor Moran says she and the aldermen are moving ahead to keep public safety a top priority.

by Marcia Hill

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