A vision that started more than two years ago came to fruition with the official grand opening Tuesday of the Newton County Sheriff's Office's western precinct.
The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously for the NCSO to enter into a five-year lease agreement with Health Club, LLC for the property at 3665-C Salem Road, near the intersection of Salem and Kirkland roads in October 2012.
The projected total cost of the five-year lease and utilities at the building is about $42,000.
Dozens of elected officials, law enforcement personnel and residents of western Newton County gathered under a sweltering sun to mark the opening of the first satellite office of any county-run office.
With more than 60 percent of the population residing in the western portion of Newton County, and a large number of calls coming from that area, Sheriff Ezell Brown thought the first satellite office would be most fitting there.
Newton County Chairman Keith Ellis told the crowd, "This is a side of the county that has said at times they don't feel like they're part of Newton County. They're going to feel more like Newton County with the sheriff's office here."
Brown has said previously that funds for the satellite office would come from the local and federal seized funds account, a statement he reiterated Tuesday morning.
"Not one dollar of taxpayers' money was put in this precinct in order for us to continue this concept," Brown said. "All the proceeds for the renovation were funded by criminal activity in this county... It's something positive that came out of crime," he chuckled.