Friday, January 11, 2008

Having The Law Downtown

Combined police offices
Link (JG)

"The sheriff’s department is in a dilapidated building not worth repairing.

City police are in an old building ill-suited for a modern, technologically savvy department.

Offices for both departments should be downtown, close to the courts, the jail and the prosecutor’s office."
"Working together to locate a city-county police headquarters downtown should be a no-brainer. Taxpayers would be best-served – and public safety could well be improved – if city and county officials would work to lease or build together."
"Jim Herman, sheriff from 1999 to 2006, insisted the department should be housed away from downtown, allowing officers closer access to the rural areas they serve.

To his credit, Ken Fries, who took office in 2007, is open to a downtown location, and he does not share Herman’s objections to co-locating with city police. However, Fries believes taxpayers would best be served if Community Corrections moves to a new building (see accompanying editorial) and his department moves into the relatively new building at Harrison and Superior streets now housing that program."
Housing for ex-convicts
Link (JG)
"Lack of housing is one of the main stumbling blocks keeping returning offenders from living the straight and narrow. Allen County officials are right to explore the possibility of offering such housing.

Whether that housing should be downtown, an idea under consideration, is worthy of debate and should not be rejected out of hand."
"County officials are examining the possibility of building a structure across Calhoun Street from the Allen County Jail. It would include temporary housing for offenders, as well as offices for Community Corrections, the county program that provides the Re-entry Court services and monitors criminals on home detention. Officials are open to including other public safety-related operations there.

Some officials, including Prosecutor Karen Richards, question placing what is essentially an apartment building housing ex-convicts downtown at a time when the city is building its image. But the reality is that under this plan, the offenders would be living in the shadow of numerous police officers and across from a building where hundreds of prisoners are kept. In addition, many returning offenders are already living downtown, at the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission."