The could soon have a new substation in the heart of the Historic Downtown thanks to contributions of some interested businesses.
City Council’s Public Safety Committee on Tuesday night unanimously approved a lease agreement with , a commercial real estate firm, which has offered to host a substation at 60 W. Broad St. for $1 a year for as long as three years.
Police Commissioner Jason Schiffer told council members that he plans to make the substation the headquarters of the department’s street crimes division, which is commanded by a sergeant and has five patrol officers.
Other officers working downtown, including the mounted unit, will also be welcome to use the office to write up paperwork and make telephone calls.
The proposal for the substation emerged when downtown businesses – including Dunn Twiggar and the hotel – asked him about having an increased police presence in the North Side downtown.
The Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, which has one of its main bus transfer hubs at North and Guetter streets at the North Street Parking Deck, also expressed a desire to have more patrols in the area, Schiffer said.
The proposed substation would be near the northwest corner of Broad and Guetter streets. That is a block south of the Hyatt Place and bus transfer hub and a block east of Main and Broad streets.
Schiffer said he too was interested in increasing police visibility in the neighborhood. There had been substations in the downtown before, but not for at least three years, he said.
In addition to the favorable lease, the department will have its office furniture donated by Corporate Environments, Schiffer said. The only additional expense will be $1,500 in electronics to enable officers in the substation to access the department’s confidential electronic records via the Internet, Schiffer said.