By: Caroline Wood

After roughly seven years in a temporary location, the Hattiesburg Police Department and municipal court are moving into a new building.

Hattiesburg’s new 90,000-square-foot public safety complex is up and running. It has administrative offices, questioning and evidence rooms and a gym.

The nearly $30 million facility remains in Downtown East Hattiesburg as the home of HPD and Municipal Court.

“I’m really excited about our location here,” said Hardy Sims, HPD assistant chief. “I’m excited about having this new public safety facility here at this location. It’s state of the art, and it gives us an opportunity to recruit new officers and to better our service to the community.”

The new facility sits at the same location as the original department building at 701 James Street.

The old building was torn down in 2018, and construction started on the new one in the spring of 2019.

“This area is between downtown Hattiesburg and William Carey University, so it’s an important part of our history,” Sims said. “The police department has been at this location since approximately 1985.”

This building may look familiar as it’s the former site of the Methodist Hospital.

Though it’s been renovated, several of the buildings’ original features remain.

“It was very important for us to preserve that,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. “And we went back to even analyzing the color of the windowpane as it existed back in 1910 when that was built… but then also adding on the two buildings to the back to make a modern, state-of-the-art facility for our men and women to use.”

Aside from all of the new bells and whistles, HPD said the main perk is the building’s ability to enhance policing the Hattiesburg way.

“Anytime you have a facility like this in the heart of a community, then, of course, you would think that crime will be reduced and also a state-of-the-art facility like this will help in our recruitment efforts. Therefore, you know, we would be able to serve our public better,” Sims said.

The new public safety complex will have its grand opening on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 10:30 a.m.