Friday, August 15, 2008

Metro opens police office in Hickory Hollow Mall

By SUZANNE NORMAND BLACKWOOD • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • August 15, 2008 Commander Mike Alexander As a way of increasing police presence in the Hickory Hollow area, the Metro Police Department has set up an office inside Hickory Hollow Mall. Officers assigned to the Hickory Hollow area and flexteam members will use the office to do paperwork. Officers also will have a kiosk set up at the mall for recruiting purposes. Commander Mike Alexander of the Metro Police South Precinct said, to his knowledge, this is the only time in recent years that Metro police have set up a permanent office in a place such as a shopping mall. He said it's convenient for the officers who need a place to take care of administrative duties. Also, he added, "we want to do what we can to increase officer visibility in the hope that we will prevent crime, deter crime or lessen the likelihood that someone will become the victim of a crime in the Hickory Hollow area." Alexander said the decision resulted from several meetings with mall management. He said the mall decided to take a proactive approach to public safety, and communication was the key to getting started. Metro police will be working closely with mall security to ensure the mall environment is safe, he said. The goal, Alexander added, "is to improve the safety and quality of life of people in the area." "This won't be a catch-all," said Metro Councilman Sam Coleman, who has discussed with members of the Hickory Hollow Business Alliance the possibility of also hiring a private security firm to enhance security in the area. But it is the beginning of a public safety presence, he said. Police will try to recruit Alexander said the kiosk would have information about law enforcement careers as well as civilian positions. Recruitment would be targeted to people of all eligible ages, he said, but the opportunity for youth outreach is particularly a plus. "It gives us a chance to be a positive role model to any youth who may be in the mall," he said. Alexander said he hopes the community embraces the new partnership Metro police have begun with the mall and sees it as a positive addition. He noted on the recent success of the Fed Up march and rally, which took place in conjunction with Nashville Night Out Against Crime. Fed Up is a movement led by youth for the purpose of stopping youth violence.

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