Substation won't be housed at old Parrish High

Posted 5/16/19

PARRISH — A Walker County Sheriff Office (WCSO) substation will open in Parrish, but not in the old high school as originally planned. Sheriff's  officials and council members cleared the …

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Substation won't be housed at old Parrish High


PARRISH — A Walker County Sheriff Office (WCSO) substation will open in Parrish, but not in the old high school as originally planned. 

Sheriff's  officials and council members cleared the air about opposition to the proposal from part of the council during a tense pre-meeting work session on Tuesday night.

The council tabled the matter at the April 9 meeting after WCSO director of operations Nick Key introduced the idea of establishing a substation that would serve the southern parts of the county.

The sheriff's office would have funded any improvements necessary to work out of the  former school, as well as have installed security cameras that would have allowed for around-the-clock surveillance of the campus.

Key and Sheriff Nick Smith asked that the issue be removed from Tuesday night's agenda after hearing rumblings of opposition from one or more council members for the past month.

The decision negated the need for a vote of the council.

"We felt that the current situation here in Parrish was not necessarily conducive for a successful partnership to establish a substation in the high school. That does not mean that we are not going to establish a substation in Parrish. We are," Key said following Mayor Heather Hall's announcement in the meeting that the substation proposal had been taken off of the agenda.

Following Key's brief explanation to the crowd, Smith addressed the question of why a substation was needed when Parrish already has a police department. Other substations already open or in the works are located in Sipsey, Townley and Curry — none of which provide their own police coverage.

"The reason we selected Parrish is that it is centrally located. We already provide some police services for Parrish when they don't have an officer on duty. Same for Oakman, same for Cordova. Then we have all of south Walker County that we cover as well. Having a substation in Parrish, which is centrally located to service all of these surrounding areas, would help reduce response times for places like Tutwiler and Goodsprings," Smith said.

Smith added that the high school was chosen both because of its location and because the camera system would have helped prevent the vandalism and other incidents that have occurred at the school since its closure.

Smith and Key have already had conversations with several property owners in Parrish and are hopeful that the substation will be housed in a building on Main Drive near Son's of Parrish.

In other action, the council

• Approved a $1-per-hour raise for park director Nick Hammond. Raises for magistrate Jay Callahan and town clerk Donna Beavers were approved at the April meeting. Hammond's raise was tabled at that meeting.

"After this consideration, every employee has had an opportunity for a raise," Hall said.

• Learned that paving of several streets will begin within the next six weeks. The town was awarded a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant in October.

The streets to be paved include Third Street, Third Avenue, Clements Alley, White Street and Ada Bell Johnson Street.

Hall said she had also spoken with District 3 County Commissioner Ralph Williams about patching Main Drive.

• Learned that the town is forming a park and recreation board to assist Hammond.