Police substation to open next week

By Morgan Fink

DeKALB — The Holmes Student Center and NIU Police Department are partnering to open a new police substation Monday in the former TCF Bank space.

The goal of the move is to promote security in the core of campus and increase convenience for students planning events in the Student Center, according to a March 20 NIU weekly announcement.

NIU Police Commander Don Rodman said Holmes Student Center officials approached the police department about the available space, and police officials embraced the opportunity.

“We thought it would be a good fit primarily for not only visibility but for the department [as well],” Rodman said. “If we’re doing any safety campaigns, the new location would be a good space for that.”

Senior English major Cherish Warden said she is confused about why police officials chose to open the new location in such close proximity to their station, 395 Wirtz Drive, but she said she’s still optimistic.

“I don’t think it’ll change much,” Warden said. “It could benefit students that need a quick response while directly on campus.”

The space was made available after TCF Bank’s contract with NIU ended in June, causing the bank to close its doors in the Student Center. The space has been empty this academic year until now.

The main reason for the new substation is to provide additional support for student groups hosting events, Rodman said. Typically, a group hosting an event has to go through officials at the Campus Life Building, the Holmes Student Center and the NIU Police Department to receive approval and fill out paperwork for events that have a large amount of students attending.

“We figured that [opening the substation] would make it easier for our students and our student groups to be able to find everybody in one location,” Rodman said.

Another goal for the new substation is to provide students with police assistance when it comes to campus information such as registering bikes or university-owned electronics. The space provides a way to deliver these messages to students who might not necessarily know these services exist, Rodman said.

While there were concerns about the cost effectiveness of the move, there turned out to be virtually no costs, Rodman said. No additional officers will be staffed for the new space.

The police department previously had a substation located in the Holmes Student Center, but it was vacated when The College Grind opened in February 2014.

“It gives us [an] opportunity that will allow us to connect with students as they walk through the Student Center,” Rodman said. “It isn’t a new concept — it’s just something we are revisiting with the availability of space.”