Did We Really Need to Spend $30M on a New Police Station?
Skokie Patch, a local news service, was invited for an exclusive tour of the new Skokie police station. It is approximately 80,000 square feet. The prior Police Station had 21,000 square feet (see footnote 1).
Reasons Police Commander Michael Pechter gave Skokie Patch for quadrupling the size of the police station were:
- Irritation: “the old station had some irritating tendencies”
- Annoyance: “When officers are in the basement shooting their guns [in the firing range] you can hear a banging noise all the way on the second floor,” he said. “That gets annoying quick.”
- High-Tech “Stuff”: “There’s a lot of computers and other high-tech stuff inside a squad car,” he said. “Weather affects all that stuff, so now that we have a climate-controlled garage, we don’t have to worry about that. And we won’t be wasting time shoveling snow to get the cars out either.”
- Large Screen TV: A 116-inch TV, Useful for monitoring the many “hostage situations” we have in Skokie. Though Pechter also noted that “It’s going to have Madden-like features,” referring to a popular football video game. It will be housed in the “Emergency Operations Center”. Sounds like a nice facility to stop by and join Skokie’s finest in watching the Superbowl… assuming of course there is no Skokie tornado, flood or terrorist attack occurring at the time.
Could there be another reason for the new building instead of upgrading the old building? Could it be that Commander Pechter is spending someone else’s money? Nah…
Bob Nowak, director of finance for the Village of Skokie, explained to Skokie Patch “that it will be funded through village issued bonds and that the interest on these bonds will be paid with a 3 percent telecommunications tax.” Acording to Skokie Patch he actually said: “We positioned Skokie so we can build a new police station and not raise the property tax,” and “We might even be coming in under budget.”
How about that, something for nothing.
If the village trustees are planning to engage in more unwelcome development, and increasing Skokie’s population density with more multi-unit dwellings, perhaps we do need the new police station.
I for one don’t see the need for more real estate development. The voting residents of Skokie are not making great demands for additional real estate development and congestion. Real estate developers want development, not homeowners.
And even still, couldn’t we have restrained our appetite to doubling the size of the police station? I guess not.
More Critical Needs – Our Aging Water System
We have more critical needs. For instance, many people don’t know that our water main system is nearing the end of its design life. They have set aside no money for this. And the water department is already cutting corners.
To read the full Skokie Patch article go here:
(1) It was 21,000 square feet according to Assistant Village Manager John Lockerby (http://www.pioneerlocal.com/skokie/news/2964110,skokie-copshop-121610-s1.article). Commander Pechter claims it was 30,000 square feet. Whether it is a 400% increase or a 267% increase isn’t that much of a difference.