Aiken Department of Public Safety preps new headquarters

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Friday, Oct. 27, 2017
(News 12 at 6 O'Clock / NBC 26 News at 7)

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Two days until groundbreaking. As if turning dirt in two days wasn't exciting enough, Lt. Jake Mahoney says this new building is a money-saver.

"We're looking at anywhere between a five and six million dollar savings for the taxpayer," said Lt. Mahoney, ADPS.

He says this new building will double their size something they need after they simply ran out of space. "What they're doing right now is they're clearing out the guts of the building. Everything is going, the wiring, and the plumbing. The only thing that's going to remain are the strong walls and strong foundation."

But it's more than a new building. It's a new start for a community.
Lt. Mahoney tells News 12, "This is going to give us the opportunity to engage with some of those community members who we previously may not have been having those face to face conversations with."

One of those communities is Paces Run which is in the fight of its life after the City told its owners they have 30 days to present a public safety plan or face closure. 16 have passed. DPS says they received more than 4-hundred calls to the complex over the last two years.

Cynthia Mitchell is the department's Community Service Coordinator. She says regardless of what the city decides, this is a great opportunity, "It's those tense times, and those strained times that you referred to that's what causes us to grow."

Mitchell continues, "Wherever we are in our community our goal is always to have meaningful conversations, meaningful relationships."
She says this is what the department wants a partnership to help bring a community back from violence and crime.

"Whether it's Paces Run--or anywhere else: Southside, Northside, Eastside those courageous conversations, those tough spots if you will...that's what causes us to grow, not only as a department but as a community. So we're better for it."

Officers tell Matt those courageous conversations are starting right now. Especially with everything that's been going on--they're excited and focused to start getting in and building those relationships with a community that it's about to serve from its brand new location.