JLE tour, ceremony Friday

Local law enforcement officials are inviting Crossroads citizens to tour the newly completed Troy Hogue Joint Law Enforcement Center on Friday following a cornerstone ceremony presented by the Staked Plains 598 Masonic Lodge.The ceremony is expected to start at 2 p.m., according to Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker, with the open house set to follow.“We want to invite everyone in the community to come out and take part in the cornerstone ceremony and open house,” Parker said. “Everything will be taking place between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the new law enforcement center, located on Big Spring's west side on W. Highway 80.“We realize a lot of people toured the facility back when we had the naming ceremony, however, much of it was still under construction and missing key elements. This will give area residents a chance to see the finished product, fully furnished and operational.”Parker said Friday's event gives local law enforcement officials — from both the Howard County Sheriff's Office and the Big Spring Police Department — a chance to show the community how the two agencies work hand-in-hand.“There are a number of areas at the law enforcement center both agencies share, which is very important to saving the taxpayers money,” Parker said. “It helps us to avoid the duplication of services, such as record keeping and dispatch. It also allow our law enforcement officers to quickly and easily share information on cases, which has been vital to both agency's success.”According to BSPD Chief Lonnie Smith, the joint law enforcement center has been a major step in the right direction for both agencies, as well as the citizens they serve.“The new center will be a cost saver to our local taxpayers and bring better efficiency to both departments,” Smith said. “The benefits will have an effect on our community. By sharing the new center, both agencies share more information and assist each other with manpower and training. This will be seen by the public as time goes on. The patrol division of both departments share briefings and work area, which conjoins the information needed to patrol more efficiently.“The city patrol are still assigned districts and work those areas through their shift. They start the shift and end the shift at the new building, but then they are in the districts assigned. As to noticing any difference in areas of town, the police presence should be the same. We have also completed consolidating dispatch services and records division. This consolidation has and will provide better efficiency in these areas and provide savings on both departments’ budgets.”For more information on Friday's ceremony, call 432-264-2244.