New Prince George's Police Station Built, But Won't Open for a Year | NBC4 Washington

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New Prince George's Police Station Built, But Won't Open for a Year

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A police station decades in the making will now sit empty for at least a year. Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker defends his decision. He spoke with Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins. (Published Tuesday, July 28, 2015)

    Creation of a new police station in southern Prince George's County has taken more than a decade and cost the county $14 million. The station even has a commander assigned.

    But now that the station is about one month from being completely built, the county says it can't afford the staff to open it for another year.

    The station is now scheduled to open in September 2016.

    "We can't do it right now," said Barry Stanton, the county's public safety director.

    $14M Police Station to Sit Empty for at Least a Year

    [DC] $14 Million Police Station to Sit Empty for at Least a Year
    It was supposed to bring more protection to people in southern Prince George's County. But instead a multi-million dollar police station will sit empty for at least a year. News4's Tracee Wilkins reports.
    (Published Monday, July 27, 2015)

    Opening the District 7 station in Fort Washington will require a staff of 50 police officers and seven civilians. That's a workforce that Prince George's says it just can't afford now.

    "I understand how the community would feel but this is a decision we had to make with our county executive. And it hurts. It's painful," Stanton said.

    Residents have been pushing for this station for years to answer police calls from a fast-growing part of the county that includes Fort Washington and Accokeek.

    "That's a tragedy. You know, people have worked for 15 years to get this station here," said Ron Weiss, a citizen who has fought to have the station open. "At this late date, to hear it’s not going to open for a year is a tragedy.

    "This station represents a reason why I chose to remain here in Prince George's County, and to see it delayed another year makes me wonder if I made the right decision to do that."

    In June, Prince George's County Council refused to pass a budget from County Executive Rushern Baker that would cut more than 100 county jobs and require county workers take furlough days, as well as hike property taxes.

    Baker's administration said the decision not to cut costs is the reason that they can't afford to open the station.

    County Council Chairman Mel Franklin doesn't buy that argument.

    "The county executive promised the residents of south county that he would open this District 7 station. And today it appears that the promise is being broken," Franklin said.

    "To say avoiding layoffs and furloughs leads to now not being able to staff a station doesn’t make any sense," Franklin said, adding that Baker didn't brief the council on the decision not to staff the station.

    Stanton said the county will continue to keep the residents of south county safe even if the opening of the new police station must wait.

    "Let me assure the citizens, while they want a new police station, we will contine to fight crime in that area," Stanton said.