The Smyrna Police Department's Quality of Life Unit has been busy since the department started the program back up earlier this year.
The unit, which uses three officers, was revived in January to improve on the quality of life for residents in town; the unit was previously cut due to budget and staffing restraints.
Areas of focus for the unit have been speeding, loitering, and drug issues in Smyrna.
The unit's first quarter numbers show the issues are being dealt with. The unit handled a total of 807 calls, which include 203 traffic warnings and 110 traffic warnings.
Smyrna Police Chief Wil Bordley said South Main Street and South Street have been areas of concern along with the highway.
"We've gotten calls to investigate side streets like Hamilton Lane," Bordley said. "We get calls about stop signs, which are obviously a big issue."
Monitoring speed on Main Street has proved to be difficult, Bordley said, because there are very few places to park and properly set up radar. Moreover, drivers may not always be driving as fast as some people think.
"Part of the problem with South Main Street is businesses and residents are so close to the street, it seems like they're [the driver] going very fast even if they're going 25 miles per hour," Bordley said. "Sometimes I'm sure that they are going fast."
This is why Bordley is hoping the poll radar signs Sen. Bruce Ennis (D-Smyrna) has offered to sponsor will help.
"We're hoping the poll signs will help reduce people speeding and make them more conscious of it," Bordley said. "We haven't had anything major happen in relationship to speeding, but we definitely want to be preventative."
The unit was also busy with drug arrests in the first quarter; there were 27 drug/criminal arrests in that time. The unit seized 27.9 grams of marijuana, 4.1 grams of crack cocaine, $1,400, and one handgun. Four local fugitives were arrested and there were two DUI's.
"Lincoln Street and the Four Corners, those are the two areas we've been focusing on making sure we have foot patrols and checking drug activity," Bordley said.
Bordley said even though downtown Smyrna has been an area of focus for the Quality of Life unit, he doesn't want to depict the Four Corners as a drug area where people shouldn't go. There are just certain areas on Main Street and East Commerce Street that are of concern.
"Activity as far as drugs downtown isn't to the same level as it is on Lincoln Street," Bordley said.
As for the loitering concerns, Bordley said the unit has addressed issues in downtown Smyrna, on Lincoln Street, and in some housing developments.
The unit has also helped with shift coverage as the department is down two officers; they are in the process of filling a position. Bordley would like to fill the position and totally free up the unit from shift coverage.
Overall, Bordley thinks the first-quarter work of the unit has been great and he hopes with more time residents will start to notice the hard work of the unit.
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.