Chester opens new police substation

CHESTER, Pa. - August 9, 2010

Mayor Wendell Butler was joined by other city officials and representatives from Widener University to open a new police substation on Monday.

It will be adjacent to Widener and a commercial development that features a hotel, a 7-Eleven and a bank branch.

The university is helping foot the bill for the new police station.

"I recently sent a letter to our students who live off-campus and informed them we have this new police substation and also to ask them to be good citizens and help with the safety of our neighborhood," said James Harris of Widener University.

Eastside residents are glad to see the substation. It means a greater police presence on this end of town.

"I believe it's going to have an impact for the eastside of this area, because there's so much violence. I think the closer the police are to the area, I think would be better," said Chester resident Mary Pryor.

The substation will be staffed daily from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m. - the peak hours where police are the busiest. Officers will be walking the beat as well as manning the desk. They'll also be helping Widener campus police deal with wild student parties as well.

"We're here to help and cater to the needs of Widener, and also to the residents here on the eastside," said Ofc. Steven Byrne of the Chester Police.

This city has experienced a barrage of gun violence this spring and summer both before and after a one month state of emergency that ended about two weeks ago.

Since the controversial state of emergency, featuring curfew crackdowns, was lifted on July 23rd, seven more Chester residents have been gunshot victims - one person was killed.

City leaders point to this past weekend's gun exchange program that saw nearly 300 guns turned in for grocery vouchers, including a Tech-9, a favorite murder weapon of drug gangs.

With a new casino, a pro soccer team with its home field in Chester and the first new hotel here in memory, city leaders hope the wind is finally at the back of this old economically battered river town.

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