Mayor on police closings: 'Doing what's right'
Chicago eliminates the 13th District police station at 937 N. Wood in the 2012 budget released Wednesday, a day after Save the 13th District Police Station petitions were delivered to City Hall.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel alluded to community resistance in his budget address:
Closing police districts has always been the third-rail of Chicago politics. But that should not stop us from doing what’s right. The three districts we’re closing are some of the oldest buildings in the system. In each case, they are being merged with one of our newest facilities. I’m convinced that in these districts safety will be enhanced.
As Emanuel delivered the news, according to WBEZ's Sam Hudzik, he looked directly at Ald. Joe Moreno, who opposes the station shutdown.
Clearly not sharing the mayor's conviction, Moreno complained to Hudzik (at the 4:26 mark) that the community was being punished for its success. But the 1st Ward alderman also stated that the Chicago Park District owns part of the Wood Street site, and brought up the idea of its conversion to a playground, police substation and community center.
On Tuesday, the East Village Association conveyed its concerns over the Wood Street closing. A letter signed by president Greg Nagel notes that the city has made no commitments on manpower, response time, patrol frequency or assignment of current beat officers.
EVA's board, which has advocated continued community use of the site, voted Monday to oppose police district consolidation.