Feb 282005
 
Authors: James Baetke

City officials are tinkering with the idea of creating a police substation in one of the neighborhoods that was in the heart of last year's riots.

Endorsed by Mayor Ray Martinez, a former police officer, the substation would be intended to bring more police presence to the student-laden neighborhood, and it would be in part expected to curb any possible future riots.

Over the span of the first weeks of school last semester, riots broke out just north and west of campus. Dozens of police showed up in riot gear and sprayed tear gas in an effort to deter rowdy partygoers.

The police substation would be in the Campus West area, a residential neighborhood generally known as the region east of Shields Street from Prospect Road to Mulberry Street.

Martinez said it is likely the substation would do business out of a house, not a storefront like the District 1 substation located in Old Town. At least one neighbor offered her house for sale at a City Council meeting earlier last month.

Rita Davis, spokesperson for Fort Collins Police Services, said the substation is very preliminary and is in "early conception stages." She said the District 1 substation has been a success since its origin in 1995.

"There is not even any analysis going on," Davis said.

She said the substation is just a thought and may not even be called a "police substation" because it is too early to air out any of the details. There are too many variables that need to be worked out.

Officer Yvonne Paez, the public information officer for CSU Police Department, said discussions have been occurring between CSU Chief of Police Dexter Yarbrough, Fort Collins Chief of Police Dennis Harrison and Martinez.

Paez said no further details are available yet.

The substation's location and the timeline for implementing it are unclear, but CSU and Fort Collins police have agreed to work together in making the project become a reality.

"We are going to set up a plan of action before I leave office," Martinez said, who is term limited and will depart his seat on City Council in April.

Martinez said the council is "seriously considering" increasing police personnel to help man the substation. It has also been reported that CSU police will help run the facility.

Councilwoman Marty Tharp, who represents District 5, is in favor of the facility and is pleased CSU may help in running it. Tharp said the building would have the potential to better respond to problems.

"If we have more visible presence, it should be a plus all around," Tharp said.

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