Increased police presence on Old Epsom Road

Aug. 19, 2014 @ 05:41 PM

With the construction of a new charter school underway, some Old Epsom Road residents already have noticed a greater police presence in their community.

Henderson Police Chief Marcus Barrow said his department intends to refocus efforts in the neighborhood, especially with the new Henderson Collegiate building going up near the intersection of Old Epsom and Berry roads.

“Basically, we just want to start up an area project in that community,” he said. “We want to work with everybody in that particular area, mainly because the school is coming there. We want to give them the best opportunity to start fresh in that neighborhood.”

Barrow said drugs and prostitution have been pervasive in the Old Epsom Road community for a long time. He said the department plans to work with local churches and any other stakeholders in the area, including property owners.

“We have to rebuild and work with the community to rebuild what they have there,” he said.

Last week, Barrow and his officers went door-to-door in the neighborhood handing out a letter from the police that stated the department’s plans for the near future.

Law enforcement and residents discussed the possibility of establishing a community watch group for the area, which has never had one.

“I was pleased with their response,” Barrow said. “The residents seemed very interested in the idea of a community watch there.”

Stephanie Ranes and her husband, Jim, live at the end of Old Epsom Road, where the construction is taking place.

She is acutely aware of the drug dealers and prostitutes who have become fixtures of the neighborhood.

“No one has ever bothered us, but things do happen around us that we see,” Ranes said.

She said she has observed an influx in the numbers of officers and patrol cars monitoring the area.

“Before you didn’t ever see the police, and now it’s like every time I turn around I see them,” she said. “Honestly, since the construction started, I see them every day.”

She said she welcomes the increased police presence.

“I don’t have any complaints,” she said. “The school is good for the community. Like I say, you can never go wrong with a school or church.”

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.