It's been talked about for decades and construction has taken a little more than four years, but finally a new station house for Staten Island's fourth police precinct is up and running. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
The lights are on, the doors are open, and a flag waves outside the new command center for Staten Island's fourth police precinct. The new 121 station house opened for business Monday morning -- the first new police station in the city in more than 20 years.
"It's finally done. Hopefully it'll make the neighborhood a lot safer," said one Graniteville resident.
The new 121st precinct was created to lower response times on a borough that up to now had just three precincts covering some 62 square miles.
Residents have been asking for another precinct for decades.
The 121 is carved out of northern sections of the borough, once part of the 120th and the 122nd precincts.
"It really divided the borough into quadrants so it really helps with response times," said Staten Island Borough Commander Chief Kevin Ward.
One-hundred sixty officers - most of them Staten Islanders - have been assigned to the new precinct. NY1's cameras weren't allowed inside Monday but the station was given an exclusive tour when the 47,000 square foot building was still under construction.
The facility is environmentally friendly, with solar panels and plenty of natural light. The building is also spacious and airy, and features state-of-the-art technology.
"We have a very large lobby desk to accommodate all the functions; it's particularly large - much larger than any other one, so that they'll be ample room. Most of the other, older precincts you'll see the lobby desks it's a very tight working space," said Barbara Spandorf of the city's Department of Design and Construction.
Unlike any other station house in the city, the detective squad in the new 121 is on the first floor.
"Most precincts it's on the second floor and that was for a couple reasons. Prisoner security was one, because now prisoners who are gonna be interviewed by detectives don't have to travel upstairs and also that the detectives are right there," Ward said.
A temporary station house opened to bridge miles between precincts while the 121 was under construction is already in the process of being closed.
All police matters formerly handled there will now be handled at the new building.