Police to create substation in West End

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - The Salisbury Police Department will create a new substation in Hall's Gym in an attempt to address both crime and the concerns of neighbors in Salisbury's West End.

The move was announced in a press release provided to WBTV Tuesday afternoon.

The Salisbury Police Department, as part of its ongoing effort to build greater trust and stronger relationships with the residents of our West End community, as well as to further enhance its work to deter and fight crime, will be opening a police substation in the West End community beginning Tuesday, August 12th, the press release states.

Chief Rory Collins says that the substation will not be staffed by police at all times.  Instead, the substation will be used at specific times for residents "to visit in order to share information that they would like to see addressed concerning any matters which have an impact upon the quality of life in their neighborhood."

Substations were a popular part of crime fighting in years past, and Salisbury at one time had several substations in different parts of the city, but as Chief Collins pointed out, with today's technological advancements, most police duties can be handled in a patrol car.

Collins pointed out that there are still some unique advantages to a substation, including the "personal connections that are gained by face to face interaction."

Collins says the substation will come partly as a response to concerns raised by West End neighbors at a community meeting in May.

The substation will be staffed by the department's new Community Relations Officer, Reuben Ijames, on Tuesdays from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. and on Thursdays from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m..  From time to time, the meetings may also be attended by other Police Department or city staff, according to the press release.

"It is our hope that, by providing two separate days during the week, along with an afternoon and an evening option, that those who wish to speak with the officer may be able to do so," Collins wrote.  "These meetings will have no agenda, and the manner in which they are conducted will be determined by the citizen.  If they prefer to share information/concerns in private, without other citizens hearing them, they may do so."

Collins pointed out that it is possible that substations could be used in other parts of the city.

"While, the new strategies being employed by the department are designed to better serve the entire city, much focus has been toward efforts to improve relationships and the quality of life in our West End," Collins added.  "Though, our first substation meetings are beginning in the West End, it is our goal to eventually provide this same type of service within other parts of our city as well."