ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - In just a few short months, CLTCC will open up a new campus in Alexandria, and that will mean about 500 students a day will be downtown. With all that new foot traffic, plus a growing downtown area as is, the need to keep the city secure is a top priority.
Officer Marquice Burton and Officer David Moore have both been permanently stationed in downtown Alexandria as the opening of CLTCC's new campus nears. (Source: KALB)
"He's (Mayor Jeff Hall) is always looking at proactive ways to think of solutions and this brings the safety and security aspect, but it is also kind to our budget as well," said Jimmy Sawtelle, chancellor of CLTCC.
Last week, the city permanently assigned two Alexandria police officers to the downtown area. And, you might have already seen Officer David Moore and Officer Marquice Burton stopping by your business to say hello.
The mayor tells us the decision was made as the community college grand opening gets close, but also to keep up with a growing downtown.
"It never was an idea just for two officers, it was an idea that related to the upcoming opportunity with the community college and 500 students each day being downtown and recognizing all of the realities we have downtown, we realized we needed a plan," said Mayor Jeff Hall. "The plan has just started with the two officers. It's going to expand beyond two officers."
Mayor Hall says the city is also partnering with the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office.
After some renovations and clean-up, the officers will be stationed in city hall and at the old ticket office at the bus station downtown.
"This is where the most traffic is," said Chief Jerrod King with the Alexandria Police Department. "You have the buses coming in, it's right across from city hall, the mini-park, the restaurants, the hotels. It's a prime example of where they can see the most people, be involved, have the greatest visibility right here."
It's an exciting time and Chief King tells us the officers were excited to jump at the opportunity.
"They wanted to do this," he said. "They were really excited and they understood they can reach out and make some positive relationships."
One of the most positive relationships so far is that with CLTCC, who say they're grateful to have the help around campus.
"CLTCC is very grateful to the mayor and his administration for once again thinking proactively about the safety and security of our students and being sensitive to our budget," said Sawtelle. "This will be a way they can help us in multiple ways."