NEWBORN - Newborn officials hope their town will be safer now that they've secured an increased law enforcement presence there.
On Thursday, officials dedicated a new public safety building adjacent to Town Hall.
The building will have several purposes, said Newton County Sheriff's Office Deputy Doug Clifton, the community officer assigned to Newborn and Mansfield.
In addition to serving as a secondary office for Clifton, it will be a place where he and other law enforcement personnel can go to fill out paperwork when they're in the area. It will also be a staging area for the NCSO's traffic unit and will be used for community meetings and programs, such as an upcoming Neighborhood Watch program the NCSO will introduce to residents in December.
"We plan on being very active in the community," Clifton said.
Since Sheriff Ezell Brown took office in January, he has placed an increased emphasis on community outreach, Clifton said.
As community officer for Newborn, Clifton has handled everything from animal complaints to sign ordinance issues.
"I've even addressed a leaky water meter," he said.
Clifton said his hours at the office will vary depending on his schedule, but while he's not there, residents can write down any concerns and place them in a comment box on the door of the building.
Residents have been asking for more law enforcement presence in the town for years, according to Mayor J.W. Cummings, who said he hopes speeders will be deterred when they see patrol cars out front.
"If you're driving through town and you see a police car sitting there, you're going to think twice," he said.
The building, which is the former Town Hall, is owned by the town and the only additional cost will be utilities, which should be minimal, said Councilwoman Suzanne Bean.
Bean said the sheriff began working with officials to meet the needs of Newborn residents since he got elected.
"I think we were sitting in his office on day two (of his term) saying, 'This is what our citizens want,' and he said, 'Lets do it,'" she said.
"This is evidence of what hard work and vision can do when we put our hearts and minds together," Brown said.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.