Should there Be A Police OutPost in Dominicks on Dempster? Council MeetingJuly 25th

 I am posting a letter from Dickelle Fonda, who has been a constant positive force in  Evanston over the past years, and who has been instrumental in uniting businesses in the West Village and residents in the Dempster Dodge Neighborhood Association. 

She has sent a letter to bring attention to the question of whether Evanston should be staffing a police outpost in Domicks, and is asking people to come to the city council meeting July 25th to share their thoughts.

I believe this is important to CSNA and all of Evanston because it is important that residents input be part of the decision making process, before decisions are made by city officials.
Evanston, has in past years had a reputation for being progressive and respectful of the democratic process. Recently with the Chandler, Golf Course, Noyes threatened closings and privatization,  311 call center at $685,000 per year without much discussion, we are seeing a direction of decision making which seems to put the cart in front of the horse.
If the police outpost were going to be in the Domicks on Greenbay would you think that is a good and appropriate use of taxpayer money. What may be some better solutions to Domincks problem.
 I look forward to hearing other people’s opinions on the issue and process. Dickelles letter is posted below.
Mary R.


Dear Leaders in the Evanston Community; 
The Evanston Police Dept and Dominicks at the Evanston Plaza have struck a deal to put a police "sub-station/outpost" within the privately owned grocery store.
There has been no opportunity for the community to have input about this decision. 
Dominicks requested it because they claim that they have a high rate of injury to their security staff when they try to stop youth theft of liquor and they "want to be a good Corporate neighbor". The EPD sees this as an opportunity to prevent youth crime. They will essentially be augmenting the Dominicks private security staff.
We believe there are many other creative solutions to address both of these issues . 
This is an unprecedented action- there is no store in Evanston and not one Dominicks in the entire country which have police stationed within their store.
This action has direct implications for those of us in the West Village area, but we believe that a decision to place tax payer funded police within a private corporation affects every Evanston taxpayer and should be publicly discussed.
Is this the message our city leadership wants to convey about Evanston in general and about our neighborhood in particular- ie. that this is a place where we need to have a police presence within our neighborhood grocery stores?.
We are concerned that a democratic process, that we have become accustomed to in Evanston--- - where citizens have a voice in matters that have an impact on their lives- has been subverted in this decision.
A few West Village neighbors and business owners will speak at the city council meeting on Monday July 25 at 8pm to ask them to put a hold on the construction of this outpost until the there can be public hearings .
We urge residents who agree that this is not a good use of our limited community police resources, to be present in council chambers  Monday nite at 8pm.  Please come!
Dickelle Fonda



While I appreciate the concerns raised by Ms. Fonda, I can also sympathize with Dominick's management. The shopping mall at Dodge and Dempster has struggled to succeed. Dominick's is the anchor of the mall. The mall needs to project an image of being a safe place to shop and do business. If an outpost will help do so, then it is justified.
Perhaps, however, the outpost does not need to be located within the store. There is much vacant space that the outpost could occupy. An outpost elsewhere in the mall would serve to protect all the surrounding businesses and residents. My hope is that the need for an outpost would not be forever warranted and that, in time, it could be re-located to other areas that may be in need or closed to save money.
That said, public hearings should be held. Augmenting private security is not what most people would consider "economic development". I am always in favor of exploring new ideas, but recently, many City ideas, e.g. closing Chandler or tailgate parking on the golf course, have surfaced in a way that causes alarm among residents. A better way to engage the public from the very beginning needs to be found.

John, I think we agree- the immediate question is not whether there should be an outpost, it is whether it should be in Domincks. There is a line being crossed here between public/private domains and there was little discussion. Domicks has a need but putting a police outpost is not the only soultion. The other issue which arises is how is the public engaged and like you mentioned public hearing.
One of the problems that mall has had with getting other anchors and uses is that Domicks has lots of control over the parking lot, thereby limiting what tenants would be able to come. What we need is a way to have more opportunties for postive police public interaction.