Councilwoman, residents call for new police substation in District 3

Requests tabled during 2020 budget proposal

By Patty Santos - Reporter, Jennifer Galvan - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Requests for a new police substation in District 3 were pushed aside during the San Antonio 2020 fiscal budget proposal.

Residents and District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran have been voicing their requests for a substation they say is needed in the area. 

In the past, Viagran was told the data in the number of calls did not show a need for one in the area, so she told her constituents to actively report crimes. The number of calls for service have increased, she said.

But that's still not enough to make the list for this year's budget. A rough estimate of the cost to build a new substation is between $15 million and $20 million.

"We talk about equity in the city of San Antonio, but there is only one police substation south of Highway 90," Viagran said.

Viagran said she is confident her district will eventually get a substation. Recent data she said she has seen shows an increase in violent crimes in the South Substation service area, which includes District 3.

"We know we need more police presence in the city. A substation is just a building," she said. "We need officers in that building, as well. We need more patrols, more equipment."

In the coming year, the city is proposing adding 10 new San Antonio Fear Free Environment, or SAFFE, officers, but officials have not said how the officers would be distributed.

The budget also includes $200,000 for a facilities study to see what possible improvements current facilities need and where new substations might be built. The data will be used in future bond plans. 

Joy McGhee, former president of the Jupe Manor Neighborhood Association, has written letters to past city leaders asking for a closer police station. Her conversation with officers from the East Substation, who also cover her area, she said, shows they're stretched thin. 

Plans for future relief don't sit well with McGhee.

"I think about our police officers today, overnight, so in the future doesn’t help the stress and the burden they have now trying to serve us," she said.

The study is part of the proposed budget, which City Council will vote on in September.

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