By Dedra Cordle
There is a new sheriff in town in the village of Urbancrest.
At the January council meeting, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office announced that they have opened a substation at the former administrative building at 3357 Central Avenue.
The community has been clamoring for a substation since they began their neighborhood watch group several years ago, but the department said it was not feasible at the time because the village did not have any available space to house a substation. Now that the new administrative complex has been built, the village received a second look.
The department had originally wanted to put a substation somewhere on the west side of the city, but ultimately decided Urbancrest would be an ideal location for a substation because they are in close proximity to Interstate 270 and they have a building that could meet all of their needs.
“It really is a win-win for everyone,” said Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. “It’s a win for the sheriff’s office because the quick access to the highway will save them time and it’s a win for us because they’ll be here.”
The department began moving into the building two weeks ago and their presence has already put a dent in the criminal activity.
“It has been nice and quiet ever since that star went in the window,” Barnes said.
While there will be times when a law enforcement official is not in the building, Major Jim Gilbert said the community should expect to see them in a greater capacity.
“We’ll have shifts there throughout the day,” he said.
Gilbert also announced that the community would benefit from their bicycle unit when it begins in the spring.
“It will give us all a greater opportunity for one-on-one contact,” he said.
Resident Donna West said she was pleased to hear that the sheriff’s office will be more active in the community.
“I think it’s a really good thing,” she said. “I’m really excited about it.”
Councilman Kenneth Skeaton said having the substation in the village would only make the relationship between the residents and law enforcement stronger because it offers a more intimate setting.
“It is definitely a positive thing to have in the village,” said Skeaton.