City reopens Tuscaloosa East Precinct - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

City reopens Tuscaloosa East Precinct

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TUSCALOOSA - AL -

Miranda Davis made sure she had a seat for the grand re-opening of the Tuscaloosa East Police Precinct.  "It's good for the community for this to come back because it's a lot closer to us."

Davis lives in Alberta.  A couple of years before the 2011 tornado dismantled the community, it was crime ridden.  Police Chief Steve Anderson says "You had a lot of gang activity going on...a lot of property crime...a lot of drug issues."

But after the precinct opened, crime began to decline in the area.

"We saw a reduction in crime because we knew what the problems were and we knew where the problem areas were," added Anderson.

    Then, came the storm.  The tornado badly damaged the building.  Officers had to move out to a temporary location. 

Now that people are moving back into Alberta...some like Phillip Harris feared crime would return.  He's relieved to see the precinct back open.   "I think its good for the community because it won't take the police that long to get out here."

That proved true - in more than one way.  During a tour of the renovated facility, we learned how officers from the precinct helped saved lives during the tornado.  Officer Preston Grammer pulled a woman trapped under a two story apartment building.  The picture is on display inside the Precinct.  "The likelihood of us getting to her before something worse happening -- probably wouldn't have made it in time."

 "After such destruction, we want to be a focal point of care and concern for the community," added Officer Edgar Hall.

Davis says that's what the reopening of the precinct means to her...having someone nearby who can respond quickly to an emergency.  "We have kids that need to be protected that walk the street all the time and they won't be able to get hurt."

"With them [the officers], we have less worries. You can carry on with your business and do what you've got to do," expressed Harris

 

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