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Yuma police break ground on eastside substation
Yuma dignitaries put gold-painted shovels into the dirt Thursday morning to break ground for what will soon be the first official police substation in Yuma.
Yuma Police Chief John Lekan, Mayor Al Krieger, City Councilman Edward Thomas, Deputy Police Chief Susan Otero and City Administrator Greg Wilkinson took part in the ceremony, which was also attended by Yuma County Sheriff Ralph Ogden, several members of the police force and the police department's partners in the development, MWKARCH Architects and Yuma Valley Contractors.
“The need for the substation is that our community is growing, not only in population but geographically,” Lekan said. “This building project began to take shape more than three years ago when the YPD came to realize that the community had expanded to the east, and the need to maintain and enhance our services in the outlying areas became an increasingly difficult challenge.”
Otero said the substation, which is being built on a five-acre lot at 6390 E. 26th St., will allow officers to continue providing the best possible public safety services to the residents who live in the eastern part of the city limits.
“Our officers are sometimes responding from headquarters (at 1st Avenue and 16th Street), which makes for a long response time to get to some of the locations in this area,” Otero said. “This gives them a place to come and do their reports, process their evidence and arrestees, without having to go all the way to the station. Also, if they are responding to a Code 3 call, officers won't have to respond lights and sirens from the middle of town all the way out here.”
In addition to improving response times, Lekan said, the substation will provide a convenient location for the residents who live in that part of the city to report certain non-violent crimes, get their fingerprints done, request reports, hold and attend community meetings and obtain other non-emergency police services.
“Instead of going into police headquarters, they can stop here and almost get the same services,” Lekan said.
Construction is set to begin soon and last about six months, with the substation expected to be operational by October.
Lekan said once open, the substation will typically have two to four officers operating out of it, depending on their shifts. A public support officer will be assigned to the station, as well as a civilian employee from the records department.
The substation also will have a conference room that seats about 50 people, which the community and other civic organizations can reserve and use for their meetings.
Lekan added that the new facility will meet the needs of the residents in the eastern part of the city for many years to come and that future plans call for opening other substations in other parts of the community.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.