The Providence Police Department will be moving out of its 250 Brook St. substation to make room for a new two-building residence hall that the University plans to construct in the same area, The Herald previously reported.
While the new location and rental terms of the substation have not been determined, the PPD is in active discussion with the University to consider possible relocation to an alternative University-owned space, according to University Spokesperson Brian Clark.
The Brook Street substation is currently leased to the PPD on a $1 per month rental agreement. Though the rent may seem exceptionally low, it is actually common for substations in Providence to receive such minimal rates.
Lt. Joseph Dufault, commander of Districts 8 and 9, which encompass University grounds, said that the city does not have the funds to build new substations or pay high rents. Instead, the city enters into a rental agreement for a very low price, or the building is “donated outright for use by the police department.” Dufault said he believes that the new location will have a similar type of agreement and be of no cost or very minimal cost to the city.
“We like (the Brook Street substation), so it’s unfortunate that we have to move,” he said. “While we did get used to that place because we’ve been there for a long time, we also realize that the nature of Brown University growing and expanding is that (for) property they own, they look to maximize.”
The University has a long-standing partnership with the PPD. The proximity of its Brook Street substation to campus and to the Brown Department of Public Safety “is a key element in the cooperative relationship between those agencies, which partner every week on everything from community policing and crime prevention strategies to incident response and active investigations,” Clark wrote in an email to The Herald. Additionally, the University maintains a shared PPD and DPS substation on Elm Street in the Jewelry District.
Based on recent discussion with the PPD, the University is confident it will “find a solution that enables this mutually beneficial arrangement to continue for the years ahead,” Clark wrote.
Dufault said he does not believe that the relocation of the substation will impact campus safety, and that the goal is to find another location on campus or nearby. “We’ll be in a different location, so there’ll be some adjustment for the guys and girls who work up there, but we’ll still be visible; people will still see us up there.”