The University Police Department will move to a new headquarters in a high-rise parking complex now planned for at 40th and Walnut streets if a plan being discussed by administrators is approved. Within the past year, the department has almost doubled its number of officers, and spokesperson Sylvia Canada said Wednesday that the current headquarters, a converted Superblock house, can barely hold the 70-officer force. "We can't renovate any longer in this building," Canada said. "We have nowhere to go. We can't hire another person." Under the current plan, the police headquarters would be on the first floor of a multi-level University parking garage. Canada said the department would not vacate the Locust Walk house until January 1993 at the earliest. Senior Vice President Marna Whittington said yesterday administrators began planning the garage, which would be built on the current site of a parking lot, partially because construction of the campus center will eliminate hundreds of parking spots at 36th Street. The new building may include holding cells, a shooting range, conference rooms and a gymnasium, all items the department cannot fit in its current home, Canada said. The area around 40th and Walnut streets has become infamous because of crimes near the corner. Last weekend two men were killed and two other wounded by gunmen carrying automatic weapons at 40th and Sansom streets. Canada said that putting a police station next to the intersection would be an added bonus. "When you have a police department there, you have a visible presence permanently," Canada said. "That is a deterrent."Comments powered by Disqus
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