Kevin Shea of the Times reports in this morning's edition that the City is closing it's highly promoted East and West Police Precinct buildings from Midnight to 8:30 a.m. each day as a money saving move. (Read the article here)
It wasn't even two years ago when the East and West District precincts were opened with much fanfare. Timed to coincide with Douglas Palmer's reelection campaign, the announcement and subsequent construction of the precincts were criticized by opponents and thinking individuals throughout the city as expensive wastes of money and manpower.
In article after article, speech after speech, the creation of four distinct police precincts with their own buildings was extolled as a way to increase police visibility and bring the community and the police closer together.
From an article on the ribbon cutting for the East District Precinct by Eva Loayza, in the Times, 11/7/06:
Pointing to the new precinct, the mayor said, "Promises made, promises kept." Palmer said the police alone cannot make the neighborhood safe, and that the building is another tool in the city's strategy to fight crime.
That all went away on May 18th when the East and West Precincts were shuttered during the overnight hours.
Citing the need to cut spending and redeploy staff, the the precincts will be left inaccessible to the public at the time when they are arguably needed most.
This is yet another example of just how unprofessional and incompetent the Palmer Administration is when it comes to planning and budgeting. Resources are expended on items for show rather than effect.
Witness the recent demise of the once ballyhooed mounted patrols, another idiotic idea by former Police Director Joe Santiago.
Or the insistence on spending $200,000 on new Springfield Armory sidearms rather than accept the offer of free replacement guns from Glock. A move that was thankfully voted down by the thinking members of City Council.
from the same Times article as the Palmer quote above:
"This is progress," said Santiago. "It's not the end, but it's certainly the beginning."
Seems like the beginning of the end to us.