Police open substation on Potomac Street

March 12, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

Six Hagerstown Police Department officers and the Western Maryland Training Academy have moved into a new substation on North Potomac Street, giving the department a greater presence downtown and opening up space at its Burhans Boulevard headquarters.

Lt. William C. Wright, who heads the new downtown squad, said the rest of his team is made of one sergeant and four officers who will have more contact with area businesses and residents.

"I like the kind of policing that you need to do in this type of area. I like the personal contact. I'm just an old beat cop," Wright said.


The downtown squad will focus on the area between Prospect, Franklin, Mulberry and North Potomac streets, as well as the Washington County Free Library and the Market House during farmers markets.

The station at 49 and 51 N. Potomac St. is inconspicuous right now as Wright and another officer continue to outfit the station. There were no signs marking the station and phones and computers had yet to be installed.

The department's Western Maryland Training Academy, which is currently training 20 new police officers for Hagerstown and other departments in the region, moved from headquarters to the substation March 3.

Wright said the substation also will be used for community meetings. The ground floor has a front office for public access and a conference room for the training academy. The second floor holds the lieutenant's office and meeting space.

Wright said $8,000 of the city's federal Community Development Block Grant money paid for part of the renovation, and he received donations from Home Depot, Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven and the city's contractor, A.V. Rauth and Sons, for the renovations.

Rent for both upstairs and downstairs is $600, which is being paid by a separate grant, he said.

The department has leased the space for six months, and has another year on its current lease, Wright said. Hagerstown likely will extend the lease until early 2005, at which time Wright said they hope to move inside a city-owned building.

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