The Juneau Police Department opened a new substation located in the Downtown Transit Center Building on Wednesday and, according to JPD chief Greg Browning, the new station is an improvement over the old one that was located in the city office building across from Marine Park.
Browning cited the modern surroundings, location and a design that allows easier interaction with the community, and access for visitors needing police assistance.
“Police substations such as this are an important component of community policing,” Browning said.
Officers using the new station during the first days appreciated the new space and convenience.
“The window is something that is new for us,” Officer Dominic Branson said. “Lots of people look in and lots of people ask for directions. This keeps us accessible to the public. We expect in the summer time it will be busy.”
The window is a large transit type with a speaker and compartment underneath to pass paperwork or small items. Eventually a phone will be installed on the outside for emergency calls.
A JPD police shield decal will arrive soon; currently a paper cutout of an officer’s hat and hand cuffs is taped to the inside glass.
“The station is open,” Officer Joseph Heynen said. “As it is now, this is what we have to work with. The shield on the glass will be nice but word of mouth is just as important, people have been pretty curious the past few days.”
Although there is not a full-time staffed position in the substation as of yet, any officer working a downtown beat or passing through the downtown area will have access to the station for phone use or paperwork.
“We are able to access our equipment and documents in here,” Branson said. “It saves time and lets us remain a presence in the community.”
The Community Service Officers will use the substation as well. There is also a more visible need when the summer tourists arrive, especially with lack of pay phones and those who don’t use cell service.
“Hopefully during the summer we will have someone here during business hours to address concerns that tourists or anyone else may have,” Officer John Cryderman said.
“Nobody knew where we were in the old substation. More often than not they would see our cars parked down there and bang on the windows or staff from the payroll office would bring people back to where we were. People would go to City Hall to report something and they would direct them back to us.”
Questions so far have ranged from bus pass prices and bus routes to burger locations and directions.
“We are here,” Branson said. “It’s instant access to us and we are pretty identifiable.”
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