Eastwood prepares for arrival of new police station
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 12:10

Meeting to be held on Jan. 22 with more info.

by Ben Boehl

    The Eastwood community is getting ready for its possible new neighbor, the Baltimore County Police Department.
    In December, Baltimore County announced that the North Point Government Center was one of three county properties to be placed on the open market.
    As a result, North Point Police Precinct 12 is scheduled to move from the Government Center to the site of the slated-to-be-closed Eastwood Magnet Elementary School, located on Westham Way off Eastern Avenue.
    Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz  told The Eagle at a Dec. 20 event in Dundalk that the proposed location of the Eastwood school was selected by the police department and not by Baltimore County.
    “We are not telling the police where to go,” Kamenetz  explained. “Crime is at record lows in the county, so police must know what they’re doing.”
    Elise Armacost, a spokesperson for the Baltimore County Police Department, released a statement about the proposed move.
    “The decision to sell the North Point Government Center, as well as other properties in Towson and Randallstown, was made by the County Executive. [He] made that decision as part of the broad initiative he announced earlier this month to sell those properties, replace them and use the proceeds for school needs,” Armacost wrote.
   

“(Baltimore County Police) Chief (Jim) Johnson, as well as the Fire Chief (John Hohman), was involved in the evaluation and selection of alternate sites based on whether they meet public safety needs.
    “None of these proposed transactions is final at this point. This remains a proposal based on whether the County can secure the right deal for taxpayers.”
    Bob Dapp, president of Eastwood Community Civic Association, said the arrival of Precinct 12 in Eastwood has gotten mixed reviews.
    Some residents believe the station’s presence would deter criminals from coming into the neighborhood, while others are concerned about the activity and traffic that comes along with a police station, he said.   
    Dapp personally wants Eastwood Magnet Elementary School to remain open, but prefers seeing a police station in its place instead of a rehabilitation center.
    “If we can’t have a school, the police station is a great move with crime becoming an issue. The 7-Eleven and Budget Liquors have been held up several times,” Dapp explained.
    “Although I can’t have people living on Westham Way and Stratton Road awakened at three in the morning by sirens.”
    Dapp added that a special Eastwood Community Civic Association meeting to discuss the arrival of the new police station will take place at the Eastwood school on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m.
    Bob Nozeika, who is president of Eastwood Residents and Business Association of Baltimore County (a separate and unaffiliated group from the Eastwood Community Civic Association), also welcomes a police station into the Eastwood area if the school must close.     
    Nozeika told The Eagle in early December that he was concerned the school closing could have resulted in an alternative school or a rehabilitation center.
    While the Eastwood community debates whether the police moving into their community is a positive move, other residents in the Precinct 12 region have expressed concern that the police station is moving further away from the Greater Dundalk area.
    Michelle Schriefer, who started the Facebook page “Save The North Point Government Center,” worries about police response times, as the police station is relocating into a new zip code near the Baltimore City line.
    “We really need to keep the police station where it is. There is a sense of security of having it in the middle of Dundalk,” Schriefer said.
    Kamenetz responded that the community won’t notice the move to its new Eastwood location as response times won’t be affected. He explained that police stations are different from fire stations because patrol cars are placed throughout the area.
    That should also mean that police sirens would not go off in Eastwood in the middle of the night.