HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH)– A vote tonight will decide if an empty building should become a police substation. The price is certainly right.
“Well, the lease agreement, I believe, is for a dollar a year for ten years, which is fantastic,” according to Hamden Police Chief Thomas Wydra.
The building is on Dixwell Avenue very close to the New Haven line, and in an area known for drug activity. About a mile away, a 56-year-old man was shot and killed last month in his home on Circular Avenue.
“That part of Hamden has had an uptick of violent crime recently,” Wydra said. “So this is a fantastic opportunity, and timely, for us to get a permanent substation in that neighborhood – a permanent substation.”
Chief Wydra also said there used to be a police substation in southern Hamden, but it was literally in a temporary trailer – not exactly the kind of image the chief wanted to project of a force looking to make a permanent commitment to the neighborhood.
Just across the street from the proposed substation site is the Keefe Community Center, where police found a pair of guns hidden in the playground this summer. Folks who run the center like the substation plan.
“Having a police presence will do nothing but good in the neighborhood,” said Susan Rubino, Youth Services Coordinator at the Keefe Center. “At the very least it will make our parents feel more comfortable.”
The Chief says the substation will make that police presence more visible, and keep officers on the streets and in the community longer.
“And so rather than have to come back to the main station for a meal break or restroom break, or to print a report, they can do it out in the field,” Wydra explained.
If the Legislative Council approves the plan tonight, the substation could be up and running by the beginning of next year.