EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — It just may be a first and it’s happening in Evanston.
Police are setting up an outpost in a Dominick’s store to combat a series of crimes. It’s located at the corner of Dodge and Dempster, but as CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, it has some neighbors feeling uneasy for all sorts of reasons.
Beyond the canned goods in the aisles, and just beside the floral department, employees pointed out the new police substation under construction — just inside a Dominick’s grocery store.
“Basically it’s a facility where officers can come and engage the public and do reports and have a presence within the store,” Evanston Police Cmdr Jay Parrott says.
Dominick’s is the anchor tenant in the mostly vacant suburban strip. Police say a series of sometimes violent thefts in the store’s liquor section by teens prompted the grocery chain to offer up the space as a police outpost.
Parrott says the presence of an officer would deter future crimes in the store.
The substation would be the only one located in a Dominick’s. Some community groups are disturbed by the very idea.
“It’s not appropriate to have our community resources, which we pay for our tax dollars, deployed in a grocery store,” resident Dickelle Fonda says.
One year ago, Nancy Floy decided to locate her holistic health center across from the store. Both she and police say the area is no more dangerous than other parts of Evanston. Floy says it sends the wrong message about the neighborhood.
“If Dominick’s needs more security, they are a large corporation, and we hope they will hire the appropriate security,” she says.
Some shoppers said seeing police inside the store would make them feel uneasy. Others felt it would be OK.
Evanston police say no officers would be assigned to the outpost — it would just be available for their use.
The city and Dominick’s met with neighbors for two informal meetings about the project, but at Monday night’s city council meeting some will be asking the city to hold back on using the facility until public hearings have been conducted.
Dominick’s is paying for the construction of the outpost.