FORT WASHINGTON – Residents are extremely disappointed with Prince George’s County Administration’s failure to make the city’s public safety a priority.
Recently the county administration decided to delay the construction of the District 7 police station due to operating under a tight budget with other funding priorities.
Prince George’s County Councilman Obie Patterson organized and held a press conference Friday morning across from the intended location of the police station to address residents’ concerns about the decision to stop the $8 million construction that was already in progress. Over 100 residents and delegates were in attendance.
“Baker made a promise to the citizens of the community and we do not want him to renege on what was originally promised,” said Patterson. “We are a little concerned about the county executives shifting their priorities and decisions whenever they feel like it. We will not forget the county executive’s hesitation and reluctance to build this station.”
County Chairman Mel Franklin said opening the police station is a necessity and needs to be treated as such for the sake of the community.
“The money for this police station is sitting in the budget right now,” Franklin said. “If we can afford a brand new FBI headquarters worth over $22 million, then we can certainly afford to have a police station opened in Fort Washington.”
Earlier in the day, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III released a statement on the matter.
“I share their disappointment but the decision was an unfortunate consequence of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget that the county council recently approved after I vetoed it,” Baker said in the statement.
“The police station was built to enhance the level of service that the police provide in the southern portion of the county. Our police department is working diligently to reduce crime throughout the county. To date, overall crime in that city is down 12 percent and violent crimes are down 20 percent from last year.”
Franklin and Patterson said they plan to sit down with the county executive and the rest of the administration to discuss what needs to be done in order to finish the construction of the police station this week.
"We are excited about the station going up and want to continue the spirit of working together with the county executive,” said Franklin.