Grand Island Public Library is going to become a substation for the Grand Island Police Department.
The substation will be a place where GIPD officers can come in all day and through the night to do their work, and will also serve as an access point for the community.
“When you walk in, you’ll be able to see the police presence. It will say ‘City of Grand Island Police Department’ and it’ll have their logo,” said Library Director Celine Swan. “They won’t be here all the time, but they’ll have a little office to work in.”
The new substation has been approved by the library’s board and Grand Island City Council. Work on it will start in October.
Capt. Jim Duering called the substation a “win-win” not only for both the police department and library, but for the citizens of Grand Island, as well.
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“Not only will the new substation create an increased police presence at and around the library, but the benefit of a central location from which our officers can conduct office work helps us increase our public presence, allows for multiple points of deployment for emergencies, may help decrease area crime, and can reduce emergency and call for service response times for dispatching static resources,” Duering told The Independent.
He added, “We are excited for the new substation and very thankful for all of the hard work that the library and city administration have put toward this project.”
The substation will be located behind the welcome desk in the library’s lobby.
GIPD will also have a kiosk there, as well.
“The public can go to the kiosk any time we’re open and they need help,” said Swan. “Maybe they’re in a domestic violence situation or need to speak to an officer about sex trafficking. It can be a volatile situation, like they could be harmed or they’re in danger. The library is a safe public place where people can come in and fill out a request for help through the kiosk.”
The project will not require any great remodeling, and will be paid for through the library’s budget, with support from the Library Foundation.
“The city and the library board and the foundation have all been very supportive,” said Swan. “We want to always have a safe environment and I think this is just one more way to help the community out.”
Hosting a police substation has long been a goal for GIPL, said Swan.
“I’ve been at the library for going on 23 years and I always wanted to have one here,” she said. “I’ve seen them in schools and always thought it would be good for the library, as a community where people come in from all over and all walks of life. (GIPD) was willing to partner with us and have one here.”
The library is typically a busy hub of community activity, said Swan.
“We have a lot of people and a lot of calls for (police) to come out for a variety of different things,” she said. “It can be someone at the library’s having an issue or someone needs medical help. At night, when we’re closed, there’s calls that are made by the public for police help. We know there’s a lot of activity in our area where we can have a good police presence here.”
Swan commended GIPD in helping to realize the project at GIPL.
“They are so professional. I’ve always looked up to how they deal with everyone from the underserved and people of all ages and walks of life,” she said. “They are just a great partner in the city.”