Hawthorne substation for officers is unlikely

With all the problems reported at Hawthorne Park, you'd think the Medford Police Department would consider opening a substation there, much the same way the Ashland police opened one near the Plaza. Are there any thoughts of doing this at the park?

— Gale R., Medford

Hawthorne Park continues to be a thorn in the city's side, Gale, but there are no plans to open a substation there, according to Medford Police Department Chief Tim George.

The main issue is that there is no structure in the park that could serve as a station, George said.

"You'd have to build something, and that isn't going to happen," George said.

Also, the park is not far from police headquarters, and officer response times have never been an issue in terms of Hawthorne Park.

"The park is right near the center of the city, so any time we have an emergency call there, we are on scene within minutes, sometimes within seconds," George said.

George acknowledged that Hawthorne Park continues to see a high call load, especially in the summer.

He said the park will turn a corner only if it is developed, giving families somewhere to take their children on a sunny day. As it stands now, the swimming pool remains vacant and the park has become a hangout for unsavory characters, George said.

"If families frequented the park, then it would move that element out," George said. "That takes development."

The city has enacted a law that excludes troublemakers from the park. Anyone caught breaking the law in the park could be barred for up to 180 days.

In the past, the department has used substations. They have appeared in the Rogue Valley Mall, the strip mall on North Phoenix Road, Middleford Alley and the Black Oak Shopping Center, George said.

"We don't use them anymore because you have to have them staffed, and we'd rather have our folks out in the neighborhoods interacting with people," George said.

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