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Police substation in the works for downtown Hagerstown

March 13, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A new Hagerstown police substation is planned for the heart of downtown.

The City Council on Tuesday endorsed a proposal from Police Chief Arthur Smith to rent space at 51 N. Potomac St., which is across the street from City Hall.

The building, which is vacant, would serve as a home base for the five officers assigned to cover the downtown. The Western Maryland Police Academy, now at police headquarters on Burhans Boulevard, also would move into the downtown building, Smith said.

There would be space in the building for the fire police to have an office, he said.

The move would increase police visibility downtown, Smith said.

"And having the (police) trainees there, going out to lunch and using the parking deck. They will be a good presence," he said.

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"A police presence in downtown is important," Mayor William M. Breichner said. "And having police going in and out of that building will give us more of a presence."

Smith said the substation would be a place for officers to keep the bicycles used for downtown bike patrols. Officers also would work on incident reports there instead of having to go back to police headquarters to do that task, he said.

The substation would not be staffed around the clock because Smith said he feels the officers are more useful on the street than behind a desk.

Rent and utilities for two floors of the downtown building, which is owned by Kurt Cushwa, will cost $650 a month. A state grant would provide $600 a month, with the other $50 to be paid by the city, Smith said.

The council is expected to vote on an 18-month lease for the building on March 26, City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said.

City police have a substation on Murph Avenue in the Bethel Gardens housing complex off Jonathan Street.

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