Gluckstadt mayor wants to expand police force, public works in new year

Mayor Walter Morrison
Mayor Walter Morrison(WLBT)
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 5:23 PM CST
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GLUCKSTADT, Miss. (WLBT) - Building a police station and expanding its fledgling public works department are among two major priorities for Gluckstadt Mayor Walter Morrison in the new year.

“I can tell you right now I’m going to be highly disappointed if construction of that doesn’t begin,” he said. “We do have architects working on the project right now.”

Morrison recently reflected on the 18 months since the city was incorporated.

He says quite a bit has been done since then but said much more is still left to do.

“I would probably tell you that [we’re] further ahead than where I thought [we] would be, but you have to understand my expectations,” he said. “I didn’t really know what to expect when getting into this thing.”

“I didn’t know how long it would take to do all the things that the city’s accomplished.”

[Read: Supreme Court upholds Gluckstadt incorporation]

Morrison, along with the Board of Aldermen, have been entrusted with the unique task of building a city from the ground up.

That task has included everything from hiring personnel to getting phone and internet service at city hall. It also included finding a suitable building to house the first city hall.

The mayor shared the city’s accomplishments in a December 23 letter on Gluckstadt’s Facebook page.

To date, the city has set up its administrative division, its planning and zoning department and its police department.

“The development of our police department has been a priority. We have 12 full-time police officers, including a police chief and assistant chief,” he wrote. “We purchased 10 new vehicles and outfitted our officers with the equipment needed to do their jobs safely.”

“It would be easy to assume Gluckstadt has no crime at all, but such is not the case. Drug crimes comprise a large percentage of arrests made within the city,” he added. “Our police officers are working diligently to stop the influx.”

To aid in that effort, in November, Gluckstadt announced that it would break ground on a new police department/municipal court building this year.

The city received a $1 million allocation from the Mississippi Legislature to build the facility and has acquired two acres near Germantown High School to locate it.

The new station aside, Morrison also would like to see Gluckstadt take over its own dispatching duties but is unsure if that can be done in the current fiscal year.

Fiscal years run from October 1 to September 30 the following year.

The city has a roughly $4 million budget.

“We can’t just hire one person to handle dispatch duties 24 hours a day. I think that when we say we’re going to take over dispatch, that will necessitate us hiring four officers right then and there just to cover dispatch duties,” he explained. “And then we have other needs. We have the need to add detectives and other people to sort of flesh out the various parts of our police department.”

“I’m not going to tell you that’s going to be done this year, but that’s on the horizon.”

Morrison does expect to make some progress in the public works arena this year, after the city made some initial steps in 2022.

“We were able to buy some equipment to cut grass and [do] small projects like that, but we don’t have any public works employees yet... We don’t have all the equipment that we need,” he said. “In order to really be able to act like a city, we have to hire full-time employees who do things like cut grass, work on streets and things like that.”

The mayor says Mike McCollum, the longtime former public works director of Ridgeland, has been helping the city in the interim.

“I would hope that for the next fiscal year, Mike will continue to do what he’s been doing [and that] will maybe allow us to hire two or three full-time people who would be the labor force,” he said. “That would be a huge step forward.”

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