Tuscaloosa police precinct opens downtownBy Elizabeth Elkin | 01/13/2015 11:12pm
The Tuscaloosa Police Department opened a new percent office in downtown Tuscaloosa. CW | Hanna Curlette
The precinct is located inside the Alvin P. DuPont Municipal Court building on 6th Street. TPD spokesman Sgt. Brent Blankley, said the precinct will have a grand opening for the public.
“We are de-centralizing our police force so we’re not all in one location,” Blankley said. “The downtown precinct gives the University and the historic area a heavier police presence.”
The University’s Chief of Police Tim Summerlin, said the precinct will allow TPD to concentrate their resources in the area to the west of campus and in the downtown area, which will benefit the community.
“The assignment of officers to a static area will allow those officers to focus on the unique concerns of the campus, historic and downtown communities,” Summerlin said. “Having additional resources in such a heavily populated area is always a positive. A stronger police presence will enhance the safety of community members.”
Katie McComber, a freshman majoring in business, said she was not aware a new precinct had been opened. She said she found the information comforting.
“I feel safer knowing that more police officers are in this area,” McComber said. “A lot happens downtown and on the Strip. I think this will help students feel more confident in their personal safety.”
Summerlin said UAPD and TPD work collaboratively to ensure the safety of students, whether on or off campus. He said UAPD will still retain officers in the area, but the collaboration in the area of the precinct will allow benefits for both departments.
“UAPD will still assign the same number of officers in the ‘fringe’ area, but the additional TPD officers assigned will allow for a stronger collaborative presence, reducing response times to incidents and creating a stronger deterrent effect,” he said. “This will also allow officers from both departments to engage community members and focus on positive community policing efforts.”
Blankley advised UA students and Tuscaloosa residents to continue to keep their own safety in mind at all times.
“As always, be aware of your surroundings,” Blankley said. “The downtown precinct is up and running. There’s an officer around the clock.”