Citizens may now feel safer exchanging children for child custody or buying and selling from Internet e-commerce after a Safe Exchange Zone was created at the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, said Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh.
Parking spaces are reserved for the Safe Exchange Zone in the parking lot located at 940 New Salem Highway in Murfreesboro. The zone has cameras to video record and be monitored 24 hours a day.
County Commissioner Pettus Reed and Lt. Alan Garner of the School Resource Officers’ Division separately presented the ideas for the Safe Exchange Zone to Fitzhugh.
Fitzhugh, Reed and Garner mentioned the murder of Yudjy F. Cherubin, 17, a La Vergne High School senior fatally shot in front of two siblings when he was trying to buy a phone in May.
Also, parents need a safe place to deliver a child to another parent for shared custody visitations, especially if there is a history of domestic violence, the sheriff said.
“Sometimes there are bad outcomes when people buy and sell items from online commerce,” the sheriff said. “This is something we needed to do. If there is a problem during an exchange, it is monitored and taped.”
Reed said he presented the idea after a mother told him she needed a safe place to make transactions. He discussed the idea with Fitzhugh.
“I think the interesting thing will be making the transaction at the detention center,” Reed said. “If they don’t want to come here, that means there’s something wrong with the transaction. Once people know that it’s here, I think it is going to be used.”
Garner said his wife mentioned buying and trading on online sites.
“The need for her to be safe is what motivated me,” Garner said. “I hope it prevents any more tragedies like the young boy getting killed. This will help Rutherford County citizens feel safe in be confident in trading and buying and selling in a safe environment without being injured or hurt.”