The Department of Public Safety will increase its presence in the Jewelry District later this year with a substation and six additional officers to accommodate the new Medical Education Building. The building will open July 15 at 222 Richmond St.
The additional police presence will cost about $400,000 and raise the total number of sworn DPS police officers from 30 to 36. The substation will be housed in a building currently undergoing renovation on the corner of Elm and Eddy streets, on the same block as the Med Ed Building.
The University Resources Committee recommended adding six officers to the area in its report released Feb. 12.
"We were really pleased that this is one of the initiatives that came through," said Russell Carey '91 MA'06, senior vice president for Corporation affairs and governance.
"We will be patrolling much more often and proactively in that area than we can with current staffing today," he said, adding that five candidates for the positions are graduating from police academy in May and that the department could be close to fully staffed by July 1.
According to Carey, DPS would be unable to effectively patrol both main campus and the Jewelry District at current staffing levels.
"Now we'll have 24-hour police patrol, and as part of that, we will establish a police substation, keeping that as a single, self-sufficient team down there," said Mark Porter, executive director and chief of public safety.
"This would be the first substation we're deploying police officers to work out of," he said. "If we expect to have a rapid response, we should place some of the officers at that location."
The substation will be used for meetings with individuals, community policing, equipment storage and writing officer reports, Carey said. "The physical presence enables (officers) to stay in the area, eliminating the trip to headquarters not spent patrolling" he said.
The University has had a presence in the Jewelry District for several years with the Alpert Medical School's Laboratories for Molecular Medicine at 70 Ship St., among other buildings.
In the past, DPS has patrolled and responded to calls in the area, but Carey said the Med Ed Building will bring significantly more members of the Brown community to the neighborhood. The most common crimes in the area are vandalism, graffiti and occasional car break-ins, he said.
The University has been planning the process for over a year, Porter said.
Carey said the plans were made in consultation with the city, and Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare attended a meeting about the changes last month.