Security firm hired to police community swimming pool

Published 11:10 pm Saturday, June 24, 2023

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NATCHEZ —Private security guards will be on hand when the community pool is open to the public this summer.

The move comes after a vote Friday by the Natchez Board of Aldermen to provide the security in the wake of the dissolution of the pool governing board.

At the Adams County Board of Supervisors’ June 12 meeting, pool manager Sharika Miller told the supervisors about the need for security at the pool. She said unaccompanied teenagers are being dropped off and have bullied others and caused disturbances.

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Supervisors asked the Adams County Sheriff’s Office to make additional patrols to the pool when it is open, which is Tuesday through Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. The pool is open at other times for swimming lessons and swim team events.

The city’s police department manpower right now does not allow for it to dedicate officers to pool duty solely.

Therefore, Alderwoman Valencia Hall, who chairs the city’s parks and recreation committee, moved to hire security personnel from Frederick Lane Security to be on hand at the pool.

“Frederick Lane Security provides security for the city on a seasonal basis at the bluff during Christmastime,” Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said.

Ward 4 Alderwoman Felicia Bridgewater-Irving said the former pool board members provided security at the pool. “We haven’t had a need for security when we had a pool board. Why do we all of a sudden need it now?” she asked.

Several individuals familiar with the pool’s operation said the board did not provide security at the community pool. The city and county voted to dissolve the board due to the fact that it had not held a meeting in at least a year because not enough members showed up at the meeting to allow it to conduct business.

Without the government board fulfilling its responsibilities, the pool was in danger of not opening this season because it could not hire lifeguards or conduct other business.

Pool staff includes Miller; a bookkeeper; Ralph Daniels, who maintains water quality; and a number of lifeguards.

Interim Natchez Parks and Recreation Director Ryan Porter is working with the pool staff as a liaison.

Hall’s original amendment asked to hire the security firm, pending approval by the county supervisors. However, Gibson asked that the language about it requiring county approval be removed from the motion. Hall agreed.

“I think we need security at the pool beginning this weekend — sooner if we can get them there,” Gibson said. “We must take every measure to protect our children.”