New 9th district police station opens in Bridgeport
January 2, 2009

By Amy Rothblatt | January 2009

The new 44,000-square-foot police station at 3120 S. Halsted St. features state-of-the-art crimefighting equipment and a community center inside. (Photo by Troy T. Heinzeroth)
The long-awaited unveiling of the new state-of-the-art Deering/Ninth District police station in Bridgeport was held Dec. 13 in the building’s community center.

Present were several elected officials, including Mayor Richard M. Daley and Cook County Commissioner John Daley; representatives from the South Loop Chamber of Commerce and the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council; and many local business owners and residents.

Also in attendance were Ninth District police officers and family members; Ninth District Commander Eugene Roy; representatives from the Public Building Commission (PBC) of Chicago, which oversaw the construction of the station); and Police Superintendent Jody Weis.

Ninth District police have left their previous location at 3501 S. Lowe Ave. and relocated to the new 44,000-square-foot facility at 3120 S. Halsted St., which is approximately five times larger than the 70-year-old Deering Station.

The building’s community center will be utilized for regular neighborhood and C.A.P.S. (Community Alternative Policing Strategy) meetings, and can also be a place where members of the community and local business owners can gather to discuss any issues of importance to the neighborhood with each other and/or with the police.

The first speaker at the ceremony was Erin Lavin Cabonargi, PBC Executive Director of the Public Building Commission, who described the high-tech aspects of the new station’s design and structure.

These include a video conference system in the commander’s office that allows police to be in constant touch with the station, a high-tech officers’ roll call room with a large video screen to be used for presentations and training sessions for officers, many video cameras for security purposes, and a fiber-optic cable network to speed up the response time for 911 calls. There also is an outdoor electronic messaging system along Halsted Street to facilitate community alerts.

The new station has a green roof and garden on its steel and masonry structure, which “will help reduce temperature fluctuations,” Cabonargi said. The roof\ garden has low-maintenance landscaping that includes converted waste from landfills. The green roof will cut energy costs by 25%, and the bathrooms have been designed to reduce the use and cost of water by 30%.

Cabonargi concluded by saying that the new police station is “an embodiment of the City’s efforts to help improve the community.” Rev. Daniel Brandt, the chaplain of the Chicago Police Department, then led an invocation and expressed his hope that the new police station would “guide us towards peace on our streets.”

Dignitaries and locals cut the ribbon for the new Ninth District police station on Dec. 13. To the left of Mayor Richard M. Daley are Erin Lavin Cabonargi of the Public Building Commission and Alderman James Balcer.
Alderman James A. Balcer of the 11th Ward thanked all of the people who helped make the new station possible and acknowledged the work of Commander Roy and the officers of the Ninth District, noting that crime in the area has “come down 12%,” and that “386 guns have been taken out of the area” this year. He reminded the crowd that “the police can’t do it all,” and that “we need help from the community to say ‘this is our neighborhood’” in fighting crime.

Mayor Daley came to the podium and recognized the several aldermen in attendance, including Balcer and Alderman Daniel Solis of the 25th Ward, and thanked them for their efforts to reduce crime in Chicago. He also extended his appreciation to Weis, Roy, John Daley, and officials from the PBC.

Mayor Daley reminisced that he had spent his childhood “about 300 feet from the Deering Station,” and that “many of my friends and their fathers have been officers in the Ninth District.” He added that “they deserve this lavish building,” and “the police here do a tremendous job.” In fact, the Mayor suggested, “go up to a police officer or a fire fighter and just say ‘thank you’ to them. We don’t say thank you enough anymore.”

He continued addressing the large audience, packed in the room that will be their new community center, saying that “there is a lack of respect for a man in uniform out there,” noting that one of the new police officers in the Ninth District had recently been shot. “I’d like to salute the police of the Ninth District, many of whom have given their lives for serving and protecting.” The Mayor added that “we all need to do this in our own families: serve and protect.” Daley stated that “guns in the home should be replaced by adults in the home,” and that “the parents of the kids who have guns and blame the Chicago Police Department should blame themselves and not the police.”

He stressed that “the community needs to take a more active role.”

Superintendant Weis remarked that the new station was “long overdue and impressive,” and he offered his hope that it will “promote the involvement of the community.” Weis stated that “this is what a station should look like,” and that “the new technology just helps police do their jobs better.” He noted that there also are state-of-the-art conveniences and luxuries in the building, such as expansive men and women’s locker rooms and a fitness center.

Weis commented that the next “high-tech” new police station is slated to be built in the Englewood neighborhood, between Halsted and Morgan Streets on 63rd Street.

Commander Roy came to the podium to add his own thanks, remarking that in the Ninth District “there is a tradition of service and commitment to working with the community” and “treating people as they deserve to be treated.” Roy, commander for the Ninth District for the past nine years, concluded that “the old station had outlived its purpose. This building will help do a better job tomorrow.”

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