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Officers to patrol Florence-Lauderdale Public Library

Officers will be at the library until the beginning of October.

Posted: Jul 3, 2018 3:01 PM
Updated: Jul 3, 2018 7:00 PM

Florence-Lauderdale Public Library officials said for the last several months they've found drug related items in bathrooms and in bushes outside of the library. Due to this growing concern from library officials, the city and county are stepping up to make things safer for people visiting the library. 

Now an off-duty officer will be at the library six days a week to keep people safe. The plan went into effect on Monday.

Jessie Stracener and her young son frequent the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library . She said she was happy to see a Florence police officer at the library on Tuesday.

"It's sad but it's probably necessary," said Stracener.

Lauderdale County Commissioner Brad Holmes told WAAY 31 until October, there will be an off-duty officer at the library every time their doors are open. The county commission, the city, and the library are splitting the cost to hire the officers. It will cost a little over $10,000 to have an officer there until October.

"It's an added presence to enhance our security," said interim library director, Abby Carpenter. "They can make rounds here and make sure everybody is following our rules and conducting themselves appropriately."

Carpenter said since they are a public library everyone is welcome to come in. She said staff members are often the ones who are finding the various drug-related items.

"We do have incidences of things that are left like drug paraphernalia. It's not that frequent, but that's something we wanted to be proactive about," said Carpenter.

The library is usually packed throughout the summer months with families and small children. Anne Stowe brought her grandkids to the library and she said seeing the officer gave her peace of mind.

"It makes you feel good and I think it's good for kids to be familiar with them," said Stowe.

Library officials said having the officers will be temporary until the beginning of October. After that they said they will work with the city and county to explore long-term options for safety.

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