Police Chief Rod Knecht isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to his disappointment over a lack of funding for an increased police presence in and around the new Rogers Place Ice District.
“You have an event where you may have thirty, forty, fifty, sixty thousand people at it, seven more police officers…ehhh, I don’t know if it makes a big dent. So, are we concerned? Yes we are. Have we asked for more resources? Yes we have.
Knecht says the EPS are bracing for increased pressure from the public and says they will be challenged as a police service, adding the demand for policing in the area is only going to grow.
“The arena opens, then hotels open, condominiums open, restaurants open and bars open as we’re moving forward over the next couple, three years. We are going to be under significant pressure to police that area depending on the number of events and the number of people who attend those events.”
One of the main functions of a civic government is to maintain law and order. For now it looks like that function, at least in the Ice District, is going to be paid for by private interests.
“We are under significant pressure. So, if the community stepped up, if the private sector stepped up and helped us, that would be significant for us and we would really appreciate that, obviously. I mean, nothing is free at the end of the day, we realize that, and somebody’s got to pay, but we certainly don’t have the budget for a store front in the arena district.”
So, that’s the plan, then. The chief of police is in what he calls “robust conversations” about adding a police storefront to the Ice District, funded by the private sector.
“We haven’t landed specifically on square footage, specific location, those kinds of things. There’s obviously a cost to that. I’m in conversations right with private sector folks that are stepping up to the table, that are willing to work with us on that, and those conversations are going very very well.”