Council approves next step in airport expansion project

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 7, 2001

The Greenville City Council recently approved the opening of the Greenville Police Department (GPD) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Since the GPD joined the area's enhanced 911 dispatch system, the department

has been closed every weekday at 5 p.m. and all day on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Greenville Police Chief Lonzo Ingram said the Greenville City Council made the decision to close the department when the city joined the enhanced area 911 system. The decision was made because dispatchers would no longer be used at the department, and council members believed there was no need for the department to be open 24 hours a day. Ingram noted that he did not agree with the decision to begin closing the department.

"At that time, I did not feel that was the right thing to do," Ingram said.

The former department hours had been in effect since the decision to close the department on Sept. 1, 1998. The new 24-hour system has been in effect since November 1 and staff members will be on duty to handle walk-ins, phone calls, reports, local warrants, bail and bonds and assist individuals with reports. "There is a lot to the administrative operations of the police department and these people will absorb a lot of that administrative load," Ingram said. Ingram said the department will have people available at all times to assist citizens in whatever needs they may have.

"We're going to have personnel on duty at the police department around the clock to better serve our citizens and the city of Greenville," Ingram said.

Though the department will now be open, calls will not be dispatched through the department. Individuals are instructed to call 911 in the event of an emergency or problem.

"We don't want anybody to misunderstand that because the police department is open around the clock. We do not dispatch calls through the police department," Ingram said."If individuals have an emergency, they need to call 911." Ingram said he is glad the city council made the decision to reopen the department for the full 24 hours daily. "We're happy the mayor and the council saw the need to have the department open 24 hours, seven days a week," Ingram said.