March 21, 2019

GRAND SALINE--The City of Grand Saline and the Grand Saline Police Department have teamed up to make sure “meeting up” for purchase and custody exchanges is a lot safer for area residents—by providing a safe location for such events to take place.
In modern society, a good percentage of commerce takes place on the world wide web, and oftentimes with strangers of all walks of life. The internet has also made it commonplace for singles to go online for dating with strangers with no mutual acquaintances.
Danger isn’t limited to the dealings with strangers. Meeting an ex for child custody exchanges is another situation where meeting in a remote location could make one party or the other feel in danger or volatile to violence.
Chief of Police Jeremy Barker told the Grand Saline Sun that the department wanted to take this measure to help citizens feel at ease when meeting up with unknown individuals or in situations where safety may be an issue.
“In cooperation with the City of Grand Saline, the Grand Saline Police Department was able to establish a meet-up spot directly across from the police department, which is located at 113 N. Green Street here in Grand Saline.” Chief Barker said, “We have established a safe meet-up spot for things like internet purchase, and child custody exchanges.”
Chief Barker wanted to get the word out to everyone so that folks know that this is now an option in Grand Saline, and he encourages people to take advantage of the new service.
Until now the closest safe exchange spot was at the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office. Several people also opt to meet in the Brookshires parking lot, or even as remotely as the intersection of Highways 19 and 80 leaving themselves vulnerable.
Two parking spots across the street from the police and fire departments have been painted green, designating them for the safe "meet up" program.
The parking spots are well lit and under 24/7 video surveillance to ensure the utmost security can be provided.
“It’s a good public place, it’s a safe place, right across from the police department, and anytime there isn’t an officer at the department, there is 24/7 surveillance from several different angles video monitoring.” Barker added.
He says that if the situation should require the presence of an officer, you can call the department and request to dispatch one. If it is after office hours, he said the department number transfers to county dispatch, and they can get an officer in route. The department telephone number is (903) 962-3145.
Chief Barker said that the program was paid for by the City, and for a good cause.
“This was all provided by the City of Grand Saline. We just wanted to provide another service to the citizens, and have them a safe spot to meet up.”