The Nacogdoches Police Department introduced a designated area in front of the Police Station on August 6 to be used for secure exchanges, allowing for people to safely buy and sell items.
According to Sgt. Brett Ayres, Public Information Officer, the exchange zone has cameras sending a live feed to a central location, and officers are frequently entering and exiting the police department.
“We’re always looking for ways to better serve the community” Ayres said.
Ayres said the setup process was rather simple. First, the department found the best location with the most surveillance coverage and put up signs. Then, they just needed to inform the public. After set-up, with better service in mind, the police station has also not experienced any issues with parking capacity due to the designation of the exchange zone.
“Before the Exchange Zone, people were coming up to the police station to do their ex- changes, so we thought we’d designate some spots and make it official,” Sgt. Ayres said.
Chief of Police Jim Sevey also assisted in the process of designating this zone, as he and the NPD believe that this could make a very positive impact on the community. However, setting an exchange zone on campus is still up in the air.
“Lots of students don’t have vehicles and the police station isn’t that far from cam- pus,” Communications Director Amy Mehaffey said. “However, I would never say less safety is a bad thing. We frequently try to expand our duties as a police department and try to be a positive influence
on the community. A lot of cities do this. This is a good thing.”
With the advent of the internet, coordinating exchanges of goods has become more and more popular, justifying the designation of an exchange zone. Mehaffey added that the police station has been used as an impromptu exchange zone for a while, outlining the security of the new exchange zone. The reason it hasn’t been en- forced goes back to the people of Nacogdoches.
“It ultimately boils down to need,” Mehaffey said.
According to Ayres as well as the Facebook post featuring the NPD’s release of the exchange zone, a lot of community members, like Kerri Kelly, have intentions to make use of the ex- change zone.
“I stopped selling locally because there were too many ‘shady’ incidents for me to be comfortable meeting
strangers anymore. This will help so much,” Kelly said.
According to Kelly, she would meet buyers in the Gamestop parking lot right next to Walmart.
“My husband would go with me if it was a guy that was supposed to be meeting me. The person meeting me would just not show or answer my calls or texts after I would show up with my husband. In my mind, it was possible that once they saw my husband with me, they took off. I sell only items that I ship out of town now.” Kelly said.
Events like the ones Kelly encountered are the primary reason the exchange zone was put into place. Since its implementation, many are giving local selling a chance.
“I would feel more secure selling locally if I were meeting in the police department’s parking lot,” Kelly said. “There should be less of a possibility of running into trouble that way. Personally, I probably will still feel better just selling online and shipping, like on eBay. For bigger items that I don’t want to ship, the exchange zone is a very good option, though.”