City Council considers satellite police station in Central Square

Photo: Madeleine Ball

The Cambridge city manager is exploring the possibility of creating a satellite police station in Central Square, after city councilors raised concerns about the deteriorating condition of Carl Barron Plaza this past September.

The city council voted unanimously to recommend the city manager look into putting the satellite police station in Central Square during a council meeting September 22. Vice Mayor Dennis Benzan said the station is necessary due to the deteriorating conditions in Carl Barron Plaza, according to the Cambridge Chronicle.

During the meeting, Benzan described a walk he had taken through Carl Barron Plaza earlier that day, according to the Chronicle. Benzan said he saw a pair of pants covered in human feces and left on a bench, trash strewn about, graffiti-marked electrical boxes and a bicycle that had been abandoned months ago.

“I was almost ashamed that I was a city councilor,” Benzan said. “I felt like I have been failing the city.”

According to Councilor Marc McGovern, this is not the first time a proposal for a Central Square police sub-station has come before the city council, and he’s not sure if he would support it.

“I am torn between the needs to feel safe with more police and the over presence of police,” McGovern said. “I want to put the breaks on the police sub-station until all the information is gathered and the council can decide what they want to do.”

McGovern said that while some residents thought the council had approved the station, that was not the case, and even if it does get approved, it will not happen anytime soon.

“It was approved for the city manager to look into it and give his recommendations,” McGovern said. “We cannot look at a proposal like this in a vacuum. It is not the only thing we look at. We refer many things to the city manager to look at.“

While McGovern said he was torn about the station, Councilor Nadeem Mazen said he favored more social services rather than a police station: “I support better coordination of outreach services including more street outreach and individual case management.”

The city manager will also be working with the Public Works and Police Department in looking into the possibility of developing the station.

“Each of these agencies must submit a report before any implementation can be approved,” Benzan said.

Once the Police Department and city manager’s reports are sent to the city council and reviewed, they will make a final decision on the police sub-station.

“If the city council approves the police sub-station, development will start after the winter sometime in early spring 2016,” Benzin said.

Robert Sondak is a vendor and a writer for Spare Change News.

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