The Redwood City Police and the Redwood City Library departments have partnered to bring a police substation to the Redwood Shores community, an effort that could have a two-fold effect: increase the visibility of law enforcement in the area and help alleviate the burden of patrol officers who've had to travel between the city proper and Redwood Shores.
The police substation will be centrally located inside the Redwood Shores Branch Library, according to city officials.
Residents were told of the decision to add the police substation at a recent Redwood Shores Community Association meeting just days after initial conversations began in emails between the library and police departments.
The collaboration would be a pilot program that would be reassessed after six months, according to Redwood City Police Capt. John Gunderson.
Conversations began shortly after in early January and Redwood City officials agreed that adding a police substation was an idea worth exploring, Redwood City Library Director Derek Wolfgram said.
"Like with any new program, you have to have a period of assessment," said Liz Meeks, Redwood City library division manager. "We want to allow for six months as a pilot program and then have an opportunity to assess it."
"It all happened pretty organically," said Wolfgram. "There were some Redwood Shores residents that through the Redwood Shores Community Association expressed a desire to make sure that the police presence in Redwood Shores could be strengthened."
Gunderson echoed Wolfgram.
Although Redwood City police officers patrol Redwood Shores 24 hours a day, residents in the area desired to “enhance the visibility and presence” of officers, he said.
Meeks has been in close contact with the police department since discussions began. Her role would be to assist the police department in whatever capacity she can throughout the duration of the pilot, she said.
The addition of the police substation in the Redwood Shores community would also help alleviate another one of the police department's concerns.
Prior to the addition of the police substation in Redwood Shores, officers would have to leave Redwood Shores to file reports, contact witnesses, victims and even use the restrooms and breakrooms, Gunderson said.
"Since we have that facility there that's really well located, it just made sense for us to give it a try," Wolfgram said.
The police substation will not be a full-service police station, Gunderson added. In other words, the public cannot just walk in looking for an officer after a crime is committed, he said.
It will serve only as a police relief station and workspace, so that officers who patrol the areas may use it during their work shifts, Gunderson said.
“Although officers will be able to meet with residents at the Library upon request, officers will not be present at the Library on a full-time basis, so residents should not go to the Library expecting to meet with an officer unless such meeting has been pre-arranged,” he said.
The Redwood Shores community should continue to call 911 for emergency police services and 650-780-7100 for non-emergency-related police services, he added.
"We always think of the library as kind of a center of the community there and as a space for where stuff happens," Wolfgram said. "So having the police have an increased presence sort of made sense for the community engagement."
No start date for the pilot has been announced, as city officials continue to work out some logistical details, Wolfgram added.
A representative from RSCA declined to comment.