Black Student Union opposes location of new police station


The Center for Black Studies sits adjacent to a vacant lot where the new DeKalb Police Station will reside.

By Felix Sarver

The City of DeKalb hasn’t won everyone over with the new location of the police station.

The Black Student Union (BSU) has been gathering signatures for a petition against the construction of a new police station near the intersection of West Lincoln Highway and Carroll Avenue since last semester, junior communications major Farouk Olayiwola said.

Senior history major Nina Cunningham said the BSU and other students petitioning want to make people more aware of the flaws of this new location.

“We are not against a new police station, we just don’t agree with the location of where they’re putting it,” Olayiwola said.

Cunningham said if DeKalb is concerned about what residents think then they can’t ignore the amount of signatures collected thus far. Senior history major Adam Lopez said fewer than 1,000 signatures have been collected on paper.

The new location will cause disruption and increased traffic at the intersection, Cunningham said. There are also a lot of businesses in the area, Olayiwola said.

Olayiwola said the police station would be disruptive to classes held at the Center for Black Studies near the intersection of West Lincoln Highway and Carroll Avenue. The sirens and the increased traffic from the station would make attending the center discomforting, Olayiwola said.

DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen said the DeKalb police intend to be good neighbors and would hope to develop a closer relationship with people in that location. The location will enhance public safety services to the citizens of DeKalb and improve response time for the majority of calls in town, Feithen said.

The location was selected to be closer to the northwest side of DeKalb as a large number of calls come from there, Feithen said. Approximately 74 percent of calls are north of the railroad tracks and about 44 percent of calls are west of 1st Street and north of the railroad tracks, Feithen said.

Cunningham said the BSU was not asked how they felt about the new location. Cunningham said she has participated in meetings with Mayor Kris Povlsen to discuss the new station’s location.

Cunningham said she asked city officials when the DeKalb City Council ruled to have the police station built at its new location, but was not informed.

A multitude of public meetings have taken place in the decision-making process, Povlsen said. Discussions on funding and possible sites for the police station were held, Povlsen said.

The station’s potential location was discussed for nine to 10 years, Feithen said. A variety of locations were scouted until the one on West Lincoln Highway and Carroll Avenue was recommended. The site was bought approximately five years ago, Feithen said.

“It’s all been discussed in public meetings,” Feithen said. “It’s been in the Daily Chronicle and the Northern Star a number of times.”

The construction and design of the building has begun, Feithen said.

An analysis of the police station’s potential impact on traffic patterns was suggested in a May 2010 letter written by Kathryn Buettner, then-Vice President of University Relations. Cunningham said the DeKalb City Council, the police and Povlsen have yet to produce an analysis of the potential impact on traffic the new police station may have.

“They’ve had more than ample time to do these studies and they have refused to do so,” Cunningham said.

Povlsen said there was a study done and it shows there is no negative impact on any of the streets.

Olayiwola said it does not make sense for the DeKalb police station to be in that location when the NIU police station is only a few blocks away. The university police are always available when needed, Olayiwola said.