Community Post

SPD “Drop In” Center

Yesterday, while walking west on Union at 23rd Ave, I noticed a police officer pull away from the drop in center.  As he pulled away, I noticed somebody had tagged the drop in center door with “DIX”.

Through my chuckle, I just shook my head and marveled at the finger thumbing directed at the police.  I know the goals of the drop in center were modest, but I just don’t see it’s value at this point.  The police don’t really use it, the precinct heads can’t tell you if it’s been used or if it is used to any imact, and the community thinks it is laughable.

0 thoughts on “SPD “Drop In” Center

  1. I totally agree with you, but I think we should work toward getting the space used for its original purpose, rather than abandoning it. When officers arrive and leave, unless they are responding to a call, they should walk (W-A-L-K) around the block – all the way around, even as far as 24th and E. Spring! – and through the parking lot. They should look across the streets at the other three corners of 23rd and Union, and across at the opposite side of Union between 23rd and 24th. Maybe even sometimes wander up to 22nd and E. Union or (gasp!) even up to 21st and E. Union and see what’s going on.

    They could store a bike in the center and ride it on these routes.

    It was started with great fanfare and with considerable contributions from the neighborhood as a potential asset to the neighborhood, and it still could be that if SPD used it properly.

    Let’s bring this up (again!) at the precinct meeting next week.

  2. A better solution would be to have a real neighborhood business open up in that spot. I know that chances of that are low right now, given the economy and history at that corner. But does the presence of the drop-in center make it even less likely that someone else might move in?

  3. I realize what I said might be read as, “let ditch it”, but I think we should work to rework it and make it viable. And if that doesn’t work, ditch it. I think a failed, laughable drop-in center is worse than none at all. Agree we need to keep pressure on at EPCPC meetings.

    I also agree with Scott. It’s a weird dynamic–the drop-in center should be a great asset, but does it just confirm the already prevailing feeling that 23rd and Union is the hub for major criminal activity in the City, thus scaring away prospective investors? I think so. I also think we need to put a ton of pressure on the State to clean up the liquor store. It’s a joke that a state-run entity has that much crime going on right in front of it.

  4. I think that we as neighbors should demand that this be used by the police as it was intended. There is great potential for the neighborhood if this is a success, not to mention getting the thugs out of the area. Please call the East Precinct and voice your concerns.

  5. What about having community meetings there, such as the East Precinct Crime Prevention Coalition or the Central District Neighborhood Association meetings? Knitting club? Does anyone know if it is allowed to be used for community meetings?

  6. Not allowed. “Drop in” means that officers drop in to do paperwork, take coffee break, use restroom, etc., not community people drop in. And not available for community use except special events like the opening day work party, GOTS, and the mayor’s visit.

  7. The problem with the drop in and do paperwork idea is that we dont use paper anymore. Everything is computerized and needs to be typed on a network computer. There isn’t one at the center. Its cold and dark. Not where I would like to take a coffee break. At the risk of sounding like a wimp, when I take a “break”, which I usually don’t, I prefer to take it where I can relax a little. The drop center has had shots come through the front glass before, not my idea of relaxing. When I am on duty, non break, I want to be where the shots are so I can do something about it, but we can’t really “break” there because we can’t let our guard down, even if it is for 15 minutes a shift. Does this make sense? Is it reasonable?

  8. Our understanding was that there was a computer there, properly networked and connected. I think it was installed with donated funds. What happened to it?

    If the space can’t work for the reasons you have listed, why did SPD want to go ahead with it and why did they opt to renew the contract for it?

  9. To the break and relaxing, that makes perfect sense. Breaks are for forgetting your job and having some personal time. Beyond that, though, if it’s about lowering guard, shouldn’t the time before and after your breaks be spent in the vicinity helping to create an area where you wouldn’t expect shots to come through the window? Or is this area just written off as that bad? This is not an accusatory statement, just an honest question.

  10. The drop in center concept doesn’t seem to be working very well. It seems the police have as much use for a drop in center as, well, people in any other profession. It was worth a try, but I think the results from this little science project are pretty clear.

    A thriving business that brought in non-drug dealing foot traffic would have much more positive impact.

  11. RE: bikes

    Wouldn’t that be great? Unfortunately, E Pct has a whopping THREE full-time bike officers. A few others are bike trained, but there aren’t enough personnel resources in the E Pct for them to deploy more. All the other officers are usually scrambling to cover the rest of the calls for service.

  12. Would we be able to hire a security firm to drive around and at least be able to call 911 and provide a little support? What if we tried it for a month?

    This is so frustrating. What business is going to locate there – I’m surprised Key Bank is still there. Seriously, who would go to that bracnh and make a withdrawl of cash?

  13. Where’s Starbucks when you need them? Or Tully’s? Or… well, I don’t think McDonald’s would help us much… but the idea is, as icky as corporate chains are (in my provincial DIY view), something like that would do an awful lot to take back that corner. Starbucks has certainly helped 23rd & Jackson—though certainly, there are still problems, some of which drift over from Union and from 28th.
    But if we ever needed an upscale corporate presence, it’s here. It’s like the way they play Mozart outside certain businesses to drive loiterers away. Corporate businesses have the money and the instant branding to define a neighborhood. (For better and for worse.)

  14. Funny, I’ve never known exactly what this was, but always sort of assumed it might be for turning in weapons or exchanging needles or something.

    Has that ever been considered?

  15. Any empty space that is not used is a potential for drawing unwanted attention ( tagging? ). As you note, I think converting this very visible space back into a community business, will re-invigerate that corner. We need these business fronts to be busy with support from our community, not sitting vacant while no one uses them.

  16. What about a Top Pot at 23rd and Union? That would attract cops. And it might prove fertile ground for out-of-work journalists, too.

  17. Irony lives. We DO understand how you don’t want to let your guard down, even for 15 min, as we live and work here, too.

    So let’s keep working together to make this corner and the neighborhood a place where we can just relax and go about our lives…..

    If SPD isn’t using this space, it needs to be used effectively by someone or some business with lots of positive pedestrian traffic.

  18. So why don’t we pipe Mozart all up and down Union now? We don’t need corporations to do that.

  19. Last I heard, we’ll get some of this right across the street on the southwest corner of 23rd and Union when Jim Mueller’s building goes in – anyone know if it’s still scheduled to break ground this summer? The retail shops (coffee, etc.) will be independent, not chain, but they’ll provide some of what these comments have been mentioning as desirable additions.

  20. The Mueller project across the street is still in a holding pattern due to the inavailability of funding. I d

  21. When Im not breaking (which most of us rarely do) I love to spend any AVAILABLE time I have in the area. I personally just don’t choose to do it inside of a building. I can get much more done outside. I am just one person. Some people like it and go there. The Center also hires off duty officers to man the facility so I would not say it has been a waste. Again I am just one person on one shift, so I dont know entirely how much it is used. We just need to keep working together to make our community safe.

    Regarding the Top Pot… that made me lol. Nice.

  22. Thanks for all you are doing. Top Pot would be nice for everyone, chuckle.

    I know that GOTS uses the space. Are there other service related groups or groups tha tmight want volunteers to help with services that might be able to use the space in the daytime?

  23. Hasn’t been very effective at slowing the dealing at the Union Market up the street. Like Parnell’s on Dearborn, an entrepreneurial haven for the bag and sag set.

  24. Absolutely agree, although I think it may have slowed a bit there recently as some of the dealers have gotten federal charges (5+years) rather than the regular 3-10 months.

  25. “Here is the thing,” thank you for participating in this conversation. Would still like information re the questions posted as a “reply” after your first post, especially concerning the computer that we were told a year ago was just what you all needed and was working well. Is it no longer there, or is it there but no longer usable, or…? My recollection is that both the equipment and the installation were donated by the neighborhood through SNG, and this is the first we have heard that there’s a problem with it.

    We understand that as a break space, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (or whatever), for the reasons you explained. But for those who do choose to use it, we would hope for a little more engagement with the immediate surroundings when on the way in and out of the center, unless responding to a call precludes that.

  26. I can’t believe what a sinkhole 23rd and Union is now… for a little while it was almost dealable. It’s obvious the city does not care about the “four corners”
    situation we have… 2 vacant lots kitty corner, a gas station that takes up too much space and has a small lake in its parking lot. The SPD center is a joke.
    How did the city get that space? Is it contracted? I rarely see cops around it. As far as I’m concerned the city could easily get this area functional again.
    There will always be dealing, etc. in lower class neighborhoods but it doesn’t mean we have to live in an environment which passively encourages crime.
    I just find it frustrating and annoying. At the bus stop I sit with prostitutes who hang out there all day. The city needs to help us and I don’t care if money is tight, I know they will receive funds from the stimulus. Otherwise, it’s up to us.