POOL TIME Added security aims to maintain fun, games at community’s pool

Published 11:33 am Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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NATCHEZ — It’s summer, and the Natchez-Adams Community Swimming Pool is open and flourishing.

Sharika Miller, the pool director, recently asked the Adams County Board of Supervisors for help ensuring that the pool remains fun and games.

“We had an incident recently where some of the kids were not listening to the lifeguard, not respecting them, and were bullying other kids,” Miller said.

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She asked supervisors to approve hiring off-duty deputies and police officers to help with the situation.

“If we have an officer in uniform, the kids are much more well-behaved. They understand when they see that uniform, if they do something up here, they will have a serious problem,” Miller said.

The off-duty law enforcement officers help patrol the parking lot, check bags and the gate, and “make sure we don’t have any problems,” she said.

Sheriff Travis Patten said the off-duty officers will begin working at the pool soon.

“Last weekend, we had some guys do a walk-through there every hour or so, just checking to make sure everything was going well,” he said.

Adams County and the City of Natchez will split the cost of hiring the off-duty officers.

“They will be paid by any funds generated at the pool,” Patten said.

“When you don’t have a person around you respect, things can get out of hand. In some situations, they can turn violent,” the sheriff said. “Any parent who drops their kids off needs to make sure children understand the level of behavior that will be tolerated and the level that will not be tolerated. I think the board made the right decision to have uniformed law officers there. It will cut the fights and things off early and set the tone for an enjoyable day at the pool.”

The community pool is popular, particularly on Saturday, Miller said.

“We have so many kids on the weekend. We have more than 300 on Saturdays. We haven’t had any major problems, but having an officer there will keep the crowd on its best behavior,” she said.

A parent or guardian must accompany children 15 and under to enter the pool area.

“They can’t be dropped off and left at the pool if they are 15 and under,” she said. “We make sure they will have a parent or guardian with them before they can drop the children and drive away.”

The Natchez-Adams Community Pool is open Tuesday through Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. each day.

“We actually blow the whistle at 5:45 p.m. and start getting kids out of the pool so they can get dressed and be ready to leave by 6 p.m.,” Miller said. “After the pool closes at 6 p.m., the staff stays and cleans up and makes sure everything is ready for the next day.”

The pool is closed for maintenance each Monday.

One of the highlights of the pool offerings each year is swimming lessons.

“We are totally booked for swimming lessons this year. And I mean totally booked,” Miller said.