MPD to shutter Westside Community Relations Center

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Montgomery Police Department spokesman Major Huey Thornton announced plans to close the Westside Community Relations Center on Fairwest Drive citing the end of a federal grant that had helped pay for the building lease for nearly two decades.

The center, which opened on August 1, 1989, housed a satellite police office, which was staffed during regular business hours.  "Ms. Connie Harper, Executive Director of Central Alabama Opportunities Industrialization Center, initiated the call for a Community Relations Center. Ms. Harper's and the Montgomery Police Department's community policing vision has grown into an integral part of the day-to-day operations of our department," Thornton said in a news release.

It is with mixed emotions that the Montgomery Police Department announces a relocation of our Westside Community Policing Bureau.

The lease on the Fairwest Drive location expires on Friday, May 1, 2009. "The building is uneconomically repairable for the City of Montgomery and our plan is to move into a City or public owned facility, which will save taxpayer dollars," Thornton said. "Furthermore, we believe that the Westside of our City would additionally benefit from us moving our community policing operations to an area where there is more traffic and visibility."

Plans are being developed to create a new site somewhere else in West Montgomery sometime in the near future. "Our goal is to find a police substation that will offer us the ability to provide optimal community policing services to the citizens. Concurrent to the establishment of the west substation, we will also create new police substations in other areas of the city as well," Thornton explained.

Thornton wants to assure residents that policing efforts will not be negatively affected in the move. The new location will be announced at some point in the near future.