OXFORD, Ala (WIAT) — East Alabama has a new set of skills to combat crime.
The East Metro Area Crime Center in Oxford will bring 23 federal, state, and local agencies under one roof to solve crimes such as gun violence, human trafficking, and child sex crimes.
Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge told CBS 42 this is something they’ve been waiting for around five years.
This is the second crime center like this in the state; the first was built in Jefferson County.
“When I first started working here 30 years ago, I never thought I would see something like this,” said Chief Bill Partridge with Oxford Police.
Inside the building is a command center that has a large digital screen that can show cameras around the area, and other high-tech features.
“We have a lot of state-of-the-art technology. We’re able to monitor camera systems from camera trailers throughout the region,” said Partridge.
Partridge said the Anniston/Oxford/Jacksonville areas is considered one of the most crime-ridden parts of the state. He hopes to turn that around.
“The first thing we’re going to focus on is gun crime. That’ll be our main hard focus we’ll begin with which is gun crimes and homicides,” said Partridge. “You’re going to see crime solved faster and you’re hopefully going to see the crime rate go down over the next couple of years.”
People who live in the area said this center is something they need.
“There’s a lot of drug activity. If they would be able to handle that it would be a whole lot better around here,” said Shaun Pilot from Heflin.
“Violence is a big problem, and we need to step up and do something about it. So if they think this can work then I’m all for it,” said Gabriella Woodard from Anniston.
Chief Partridge said this center could be a game changer.
“The thing I’m looking extremely forward to is having all our regional partners under one roof so we can work together and hopefully drive that crime rate down in future,” said Partridge.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the East Metro Area Crime Center is scheduled for May 24 at 2 p.m.
Partridge said his goal is to get East Alabama out of the top ten areas in Alabama crime.