A ribbon-cutting was held Saturday at the Walker County Sheriff's Office substation at the Townley Community Center. Sherriff Nick Smith said after the brief ceremony the facility can be used …
A ribbon-cutting was held Saturday at the Walker County Sheriff's Office substation at the Townley Community Center.
Sherriff Nick Smith said after the brief ceremony the facility can be used now. However, several more cameras, which will be paid for by state Rep. Tim Wadsworth, R-Arley, for about $500, will be installed in about a week.
Wadsworth, who did not get in the ribbon-cutting photo, was present for Saturday's event, which coincided with a car show, Easter egg hunt and other events at the center that day.
It is the second sheriff substation to be installed recently, after Sipsey recently opened one. Nick Key, the director of operations for the Sheriff's Office, said Saturday about three more substations are currently being planned. All of them so far are expected to come in at about $1,000 or less for each facility, counting cameras and renovations.
Smith said outside of cameras, signage was the biggest need in Townley, which he paid for with discretionary funds. The community center will pay for the utilities, although he said an agreement notes if the bills go much higher than what they already are, the Sheriff's Office will chip in pay for the extra cost.
Smith last month told the Walker County Commission he had meet with officials overseeing the community center on March 17, when they unanimously agreed to allow the substation to be installed.
Smith said at Saturday's ceremony, "I think this is a real good day for Townley," adding it helps in coverage for west Walker County and will help the community center. "This is a team effort between the commission, the community center and Director Key, and I'm excited about the future."
He noted a few years ago the isolated facility was ransacked by thieves.
"A lot of work has gone on" to bring the former school back to life, he said. "I'm thankful they will allow the Sheriff's Department to be a part of that. I think having cameras installed here that will be monitored 24 hours a day at the Sheriff's Department (in Jasper) will cut down on a lot of that mischief."
He noted part of that help will also include officers coming in and out of the facility, noting response time to the area will be cut down as a whole.
Denise Clements, the president of the Townley Community Center, said during the ceremony, "We are excited to be partners with the sheriff's department and with the county commission now. As far as I know, Townley has never had an in-house law enforcement presence. We are really excited about that.
"We didn't have to deliberate a whole lot on whether to do this, because we knew the benefits for the community and this area of the county was greater than what we be an expense to us."
After the event, she noted the protection helps as the facility hosts rooms for the Walker County Sports Hall of Fame (which was open to view Saturday) and the Walker County Fairy Godmothers Association. A gym is used for concerts, recreational games and non-profit fundraising events.
The center itself is a non-profit with all of its funding coming from fundraisers and donations, she said.
The facility already already had five cameras before Smith and Key approached the community center, she said.