CPD to close three district stations

March 5, 2012 4:37:20 AM PST
The Chicago Police Department is closing three of its district stations. Two of them closed Sunday, including the station at 29th Street and Prairie, which has been there for almost 60 years.

By this fall, another station will close.

Superintendent Garry McCarthy says this move will put officers on the streets and save money.

"This is critical to setting up the department to make it the most effective crime fighting machine that we can have," he said.

McCarthy says the closings are based on an analysis of district size, police calls, and crime and it puts more cops on the street.

"It's not the buildings that protect the public," he said. It's the officers."

Residents like Anne Shaw, who fought to keep the wood district station open, believes its closure will slow response and change safety in the area.

"I understand the city has a budget problem, and we all share in that pain," Shaw said. "But when it comes to public safety issues, that's one thing that shouldn't be cut, they shouldn't be closing the stations, the station itself, having a station there itself acts as a deterrent"

In addition to the district closings, the department is also consolidating its detective division, currently housed at five area centers.

Effective Sunday, the detectives at Areas 4 and 5 move into the remaining three.

"These are generations of people who know these local detectives and now those detectives are moving to different neighborhoods not accessible to them," said Mike Shields, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Even community members say it's a lot of changes, and fast.

"I'm concerned about the officers and the administrative office staff," said Al Livingston. "They are going to have to learn a whole new game and there will be a whole shift of personnel. I'm not sure how it's all going to work out in terms of adjustments plus it's happening very quickly."