Winston-Salem Police want substations

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The Winston-Salem Police Department said public safety, visibility and overcrowding at the current police station would be improved if the department adds three substations within the city's three patrol districts.

City Council has been interested in the idea for some time, and Chief Barry Rountree said the idea is a good way to satisfy the constant requests for increased police visibility.

"People want to see the police and that's what we try to do, but having a building in the community will also increase that presence," said Rountree. "It will provide a greater police presence in a lot of these areas and it will improve safety and community relations we feel."

Rountree told the city's Public Safety Committee this week that the idea calls for three substations, centrally located in the city's three patrol districts. The 95 patrol officers assigned to those districts would report to those substations, instead of the current Public Safety Center on Cherry Street.

Rountree said the Public Safety Center is also overcrowded.

"We've grown from 300 sworn officers when this building was originally opened in 1984 to over 550 sworn positions we have now," said Rountree.

Along with increased visibility, Rountree claims the substations would free up space for the city's Fire Department and Emergency Management officials inside the current Public Safety Center.

A cost analysis and feasibility study is now underway.

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