SPD, Mayor and Alderwoman Purchase reopen Qik N EZ-north-end substation
Springfield police are reopening a substation inside a north-end convenience store – and WMAY was there to hear what SPD Chief Scarlette, Alderwoman LaKeisha Purchase, and Mayor Jim Langfelder had to say concerning this local innovation.
The substation was originally part of the Qik N EZ store at 5th and South Grand when it opened in 2002 – but the substation was closed years ago when the store’s owners decided to utilize the space for other purposes.
But, in response to concerns about crime and mass gatherings in the area, the facility has been reopened.
Police Chief Scarlette said – amongst other things – “Well – many of you may remember that, over the last couple of years, this area has been plagued with pop-up parties, as well as drug use, drug trafficking, and homelessness issues.
And we believe that through the relationships with the mayor’s office as well as Alderwoman LaKeisha Purchase and the relationship with key stakeholders like Chronister Oil, we can bring an end to this nefarious activity; that begins with the positive police presence that we will have here today – beginning today in this substation.”
Furthermore, it was noted that the substation will now provide a place for officers to engage with residents in the area, and also give them a spot to write reports and carry out other official duties.
Mayor Jim Langfelder noted that “…we thank the neighborhood associations – the Enos Park neighborhood associations, the Lincoln Park neighborhood associations – they really strengthen and stabilize the area. But what this shows is [that] the police department are really the connecting point that brings all of us together.
And that’s what this really means to me, with regards to this particular project, and having it reopened is so it can be a safe haven for people to come in, and really engage the police officers – the men and women of our police force – which are second to none, in my opinion; we don’t have enough time to go over that…”
Alderwoman LaKeisha Purchase of Ward 5 also thanked Qik N EZ – CEO Damon Cranford was present at the opening – while going over what this innovation means to this part of the community.
“… just very grateful – this is a good day for Springfield. It’s my favorite word – safety. I think when Chief Scarlett was appointed, the first thing that I had asked was, ‘could we reopen a substation?’; I have one of my neighborhood presidents here – Bill Basket – and that was a concern for Lincoln Park. There was a lot of activity going on from the pop-up parties down the street at our old Shop N Save building, to incidents happening right across the street.
So I felt like that [police] presence is what will make people feel safer over in the neighborhood, and allow people to engage with each other….I just want to echo what Chief Scarlett said – and thank you, Damon too, because this would not be possible without you – the partnership that you’re bringing in, and saying that ‘this is something that I want to do, and I will provide the space for you all.’ So thank you.”