Residents fight new San Ramon police station

March 23, 2010 7:41:36 PM PDT
"Not in my neighborhood" is the battle-cry of some people in San Ramon. Many residents are locked in a fight with their own police department. It is a controversy created by growing pains, a bad economy, and a vacant building.

"We have more staff than we can put lockers in here," says San Ramon Police Chief Scott Holder.

Holder says his force has outgrown their outdated digs.

"Currently, we have detective offices five miles from our patrol staff. We have our traffic officers off-site. We need to bring people together," said Holder.

Along with the population of San Ramon, the police force has grown tremendously in the past three decades. In 1984, there were 15 employees; today there are 76.

The department was supposed to move to a new city center, but that project is on hold.

One empty commercial building seemed like a good temporary solution for at least the next four years, until the economy improves.

"We just think this is really a bad location," said Andrew Pryfogle, a San Ramon resident.

But some homeowners say this is not the place for the police.

"I'm just worried about excess traffic 24/7. Even the doors slamming in the middle of the night," says Susan Pryfogle, a San Ramon resident.

"They are going to be booking arrestees that are literally going to be 100 feet from where our children play," says Pryfogle.

But according to Holder, many of the residents' fears are unfounded.

When asked if dangerous criminals will be housed in the building, Holder says, "No. The building does contain a jail or holding cell. There is a booking room."

At this point, the San Ramon City Council has already decided to move ahead with the purchase of the building for their police station, but the residents who oppose that plan, still hope they'll change their minds.

"We're spending almost $9 million here to buy a temporary facility for the police that frankly doesn't make a lot of sense when we're laying off teachers," said Steven Tange, a San Ramon resident.

The residents plan to show up in force at tonight's city council meeting.


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