Thursday, December 22, 2005

Would A New Southeast Police Station Result In Cuts In Other Precincts?

One of the resolutions passed by Metro Council on Tuesday night requests that Police Chief Ronal Serpas respond within 60 days to the question of the feasibility of building a new precinct station in southeast Davidson County.

When the resolution's sponsors rose to speak in favor of their resolution during pre-vote discussion, they acknowledged that the southeast portion is not particularly problematic or crime-ridden, but that they were attempting to be proactive and have police presence in place if and when crime did go up with the increase in population they appear to be experiencing. Co-sponsor Tommy Bradley mentioned Chief Serpas's current policy of focusing patrols to those neighborhoods with the most phone calls to police. Bradley also said that he hoped that that policy might be reconsidered in the future for the sake of providing southeast Davidson County with more regular patrols based in a local station.

Our neighborhood watch in Salemtown has adjusted to the current policy of focusing attention on those neighborhoods with the most calls, and many of us call whenever something suspicious seems to be happening on our streets. We generally get good response times from police and more patrols have tended to follow for stints afterwards. It remains to be seen whether we might have to readjust if the Police Chief reconsiders along Bradley's wishes.

However, it sounds like the need for a southeast police station is not a matter of policy but one of money. I would say that the southeast Council members (Bradley, Vivian Wilhoite, and Sam Coleman) should organize initiatives with their peers to raise revenues to hire more cops and to start a capital project rather than encouraging changes that might siphon off police response and patrols from other areas. The last thing any of us need with the recent spike in Nashville's violent crime rate is a force spread too thin.

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