I commend Councilor Annie Allen for her efforts to revisit the decision regarding the proposed site of the police station and to briefly advocate for the council to carefully reconsider this most important issue.
I have been a resident of Bangor’s east side for 10 years and will remain here for many more. Most of the residential neighborhoods surrounding downtown include multi-family homes and are densely populated. It is fundamental that the police department remain downtown, where the police force is highly visible and able to respond quickly when crimes are committed.
The site near the airport is neither visible nor close to the population that the police force protects. In fact, it nearly sits on the Bangor-Hermon town line and is not in proximity to many homes, businesses or people. While I’m sure the economics and ability to make future expansions are driving this decision, I believe that an economic sacrifice is warranted in this case. The police department needs to be located squarely in the center of the community that it protects.
Three years ago, my home was invaded by a psychotic man and I found myself in the unfortunate position of needing immediate help. The invasion occurred during a change in shift at the police department, when most officers were at the police station. Given that the police station was located in the middle of town, they were able to send an overwhelming police force to my home within minutes.
Though I don’t want to be melodramatic, I believe that had the police station been located on the outskirts of town (the site currently being considered), making the race to my house two or three minutes longer, I’d have been in trouble.
The police department needs to be situated near the largest number of people, business and homes in the area. It makes no sense to build it across from an airport runway and several hundred acres of field.