The Harlem Department of Public Safety plans to add two substations within city limits, which officials say could cut response times while boosting police presence.
The substations will be located along Milledgeville Road, a busy thoroughfare that connects the city to Gordon Highway.
The east substation will be at It’s a Man’s Place, a consignment shop located at 190 East Milledgeville Road.
The west substation will be inside JR Quality Trailer’s new location on West Milledgeville Road.
Both are expected to be operable in the coming weeks, and at a minimal cost to the department, Chief Gary Jones said.
“Both of these businesses have donated this office space to us,” he said. “We don’t have to buy office equipment or anything. The only expenditure that we did have was to have some professional signs made.”
The signs will cost $125, Jones said, which will be paid for by seized drug money.
Jones called the additions a “win-win” for the department, adding that it will help cut into the response time of about five minutes now that officers can be posted at either end of the city.
Officers currently cover about three square miles and must report to headquarters at 110 West Milledgeville Road.
“I think it shows that we’re certainly part of the community and we’ve put ourselves in a position so that we can respond more rapidly,” he said.
“While the officers are doing their paperwork, which they are in service to do, it kind of put us in the middle of things.”
Jones said he approached the business owners who will accommodate the substations because their locations are central to other businesses on their sides of town, respectively.
Tom Hill, gun range and firearms manager at It’s a Man’s Place, said though the business has operated as an unofficial substation for some time, he’s glad he will see officers in the store more often.
“Having it official makes it more high profile and is definitely a deterrent for people without the intelligence to think this would be an easy knock-over,” he said. “Having a deterrent like that can prevent anything from petty crimes like shoplifting to armed robbery.”
Joey Reid, owner of JR Quality Trailers, said he will provide a small office for the officers complete with a desk and air conditioning.
He expects to have the substation operational in about two weeks.
“It’ll be a great place for those officers to stop, and we will certainly welcome them,” he said.