PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - It's been a little over three months since construction crews came in to gut and remodel the old, empty Paragould Fire Station #2. Now, it's weeks away from being housed by the police department. Something city officials and area residents are excited about.
"We've always needed faster response time from the police and this will help a whole lot," Donna Hilburn told Region 8 News.
She's lived right next to the Paragould Substation for six months, but lived down the road before that.
She and many Paragould residents neighboring the new substation are rejoicing.
"My nephew lived here and he lost two bicycles out of the backyard. There are just too many people walking the streets that you don't know who they are and what they're looking for," Hilburn said.
She hopes with the new addition to the neighborhood, she won't have to worry about that much longer.
"The presence of more police, the less trouble I think we'll have."
Her sentiments are echoed by the city.
"That's one of the things that we're doing, by trying to expand our locations is to help thwart the crime in our community to the best of our ability," Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill said.
It's a crime fighting addition to the City of Paragould that has them wondering 'what if'. Nearly a year ago, a home invasion occurred just catty-cornered from the new substation, leaving 90 year old Clinton Mason dead.
"Had this been a police department then, that might not have happened in this area," Gaskill told Region 8 News.
Mayor Gaskill said their added presence in East Paragould deter criminal activity. "We're gonna have a police officer that's assigned to this building also. Whether it be in the daytime or in the nighttime, this will be their base."
And as the substation will house their Criminal Investigation Division, it will free up space at the current department.
"We were just utilizing an asset that we already had," Gaskill said, as the city already owned that building. "This building was left vacant and so that's why we decided to do that with this location as opposed to just let it sit here and become a storage building."
Mayor Gaskill said the construction crews will be working the rest of this week, meaning CID should be able to start moving things in next week.
The substation will also have a holding cell, interrogation room and evidence room.