SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The clock continues to countdown until the Savannah Chatham Metro Police Department is a thing of the past.
Ahead of the February 1st deadline, Savannah city leaders gathered on Tuesday morning to break ground on the new Central Precinct on MLK Blvd..
The newly formed Savannah Police Department will have four districts, down from six Metro districts.
Central Precinct is the smallest of the four but fields the largest number of 911 calls.
“What happens in this area really affects the rest of the city. Our citizens deserve this. It’s taken far too long and it’s time to get this project moving,” Savannah Alderman Van Johnson said.
Paid through SPLOST funding, the construction of 13,300 sq. ft. multi-purpose Central Precinct marks the first building constructed for Savannah officers is more than a century.
“While Savannah is a historic place we shouldn’t think historically. And really it just shows us we have a lot more work to do in terms of infrastructure,” Johnson said.
Among those with shovel in hand was Interim Police Chief Mark Revenew.
“Not only does this represent a 21st century police faculty but it represents a serious commitment from our elected officials, our alderman, mayor that just shows you their dedication to us to fighting crime but also being present in this community,” Revenew said.
The city estimates the new building to be completed in one year.
Across town on Victory Drive, the crowd migrated east to cut the ribbon on the new Eastside Precinct.
The newly opened 10,000 sq. ft. facility offers new offices, facilities, and a new location for SPD.
“The alderman and alderwomen have all personally approached me and said you have our support.This proves to the community that we have their support. Their commitment to these neighborhoods to make Savannah a safer and better place,” Revenew said at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Since Monday, officers have been reporting to the new precinct for roll call.
The Eastside Precinct takes the place of the Metro Islands Precinct on Whitemarsh Island. That location site is now in the hands of the Chatham County Police Department and will remain in transition for a few weeks until it is ready to open up for business.
According to the county, there should not be a disruptive in 911 call response times because an adequate amount of officers are going to be patrolling their beat when the call comes and not waiting at the precinct building for a dispatch order.