Communications Bureau, City of Rochester

    Nearly eight years after dismantling the downtown patrol section, the city is bringing one back.

    The city dissolved the downtown police force when it went to east-west patrol divisions.

    Since then, the city closed Midtown Plaza and the City School District increasingly relied on public buses, leading to problems of teen loitering at the Liberty Pole.

    The city tried to address the issues by increasing the number of officers on foot and horseback downtown. It even put a big, ugly police trailer at the Liberty Pole. But the problems continued.

    Although downtown is statistically the safest area of the city, it has suffered from a perception problem. Fifty thousand people work downtown and countless more visit downtown attractions.

    There’s something about having a dedicated police station that makes people feel secure.  PAETEC actually demanded a police substation in the headquarters it once planned to build.

    Perhaps the experience over the last eight years shows there’s something to be said for having an actual physical office with a dedicated staff downtown. Police Chief Jim Sheppard announced today a substation staffed by 30 officers is going into the Sibley Building.

    The move probably won’t be enough to keep Monroe Community College from wanting to bolt. But it could be a way to entice others to locate on Main Street. And knowing there’s a police station nearby could deter the nuisance issues MCC is fleeing.