The residents on the west end of Belleville have a new police substation in the neighborhood, and it will be manned by both Belleville police officers as well as deputies from the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department.
It doesn't matter whether the resident's home is in Belleville or St. Clair County: A Belleville officer or a county deputy will be there to serve.
St. Clair County Sheriff Richard "Rick' Watson, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Heinz Rudolf and Belleville Police Chief William Clay Sr. say there shouldn't be any boundaries when it comes to the safety of the citizens.
"We want everyone to know that it doesn't matter if your address is in St. Clair County or Belleville, either the Sheriff's Department or the Belleville Police Department will help you," Watson said. "We will sort out all of the logistics later."
There was a home invasion in the Ogles neighborhood a month or so ago, and Rudolf said he received some calls from friends asking him whether he had any ideas to make the area safer.
"We met with the residents and talked about the substation. The sheriff talked with residents in the Ogles. We also talked to residents in the Stonehenge and everyone seemed to like the idea of having a police substation," Rudolf said.
Signage for the new susbstation was unveiled Friday.
Rudolf described the substation as a win-win situation. The officers will be in and out of the substation on 74th Street to do their police reports, take a break, answer calls and have lunch.
"Citizens who want to talk to the officers can come by if they have issues," Rudolph said.
Rudolf said the residents seem pleased.
"It's working well. People do use it. It's nice to know there's police presence there," Rudolf said.
He added, "The idea of having the police substation came from citizens and when I was on the County Board in 2002. I talked to Sheriff Watson about it and he called Chief Clay. They both were on board."
Clay said, "I think it's a positive thing. It's a collaboration between the neighborhood association, the residents and law enforcement. It also helps espouse visibility," Clay said.
Clay said there are various substations in and around the community. But, the 74th Street location is different in that it is located in a neighborhood.
Clay said he feels the substation is in a good location. "If we need to meet with a resident or if a resident feels more comfortable talking to us there, it is there for that."
Clay said the substation is not staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"We will see how it works. But, I want to encourage people, if they need police assistance, to call the police stations," Clay said.