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Public safety comes to south Mission

20110413_MISSION_Fire-Police_Sub_Ribbon_Cutting_CAB_0129MISSION — At Wednesday’s grand opening for the new Mission Police Department Substation and Fire Station No. 5 in south Mission, officials stressed the word “commitment.”

“We made a commitment to serve and to be the mayor and city council, and my commitment was to be able to do things that were going to be able to help our community,” Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas said. “Our commitment to our community is a very big commitment and we’re not going to stop there. We need to continue doing what we have made that commitment to be.”

The substation, located off of Military Highway and Glasscock Road, will be manned 24 hours a day. Now that this substation is complete, city officials plan on looking at building another substation by the fire station on north Inspiration and 2 Mile Line roads.

20110413_MISSION_Fire-Police_Sub_Ribbon_Cutting_CAB_0044To help support these substations, and the growing community, city leaders this week said they’d also hire 10 additional police officers.

Mission Chamber of Commerce Chairman Fred Kurth congratulated the city on creating the new substation and fire station, the bridge, the new road connecting the bridge to the expressway, and the growth in south Mission.

“Those things don’t just happen, it takes leadership and vision,” Kurth said as he thanked all of the entities that helped in the project, including Hunt Valley Development and Sharyland Independent School District for donating the land.

The new substation will protect the needs of approximately 16,000 residents in the area east of Conway to Taylor Road and south of Expressway 83 to the border, Mission Police Chief Leo Longoria said.

Longoria said their success would not happen without the collaboration with agencies like U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“We are committed to public safety and enforcement. The mayor’s philosophy has always been, ‘It’s not necessarily what you show me on paper chief that indicates that the crime is down, it’s how do our people feel? Do our people really feel safe?’ Our objective is to address inner-city crime. The facility itself is not what’s going to get it done; it’s going to be the boots on the ground, and getting into those neighborhoods.”

Residents will be able to come to the police substation and file reports or affidavits instead of driving to the main police station.

Longoria said the station would be able to manage calls for better service for the community. Additionally, commanders are responsible for reducing the crime in the area.

Longoria said the substation is supported by 30 officers and two commanders, and overseen by two assistant police chiefs and himself. The substation will cost about $2.5 million annually and will also take care of commercial vehicle enforcement and bridge operations.

Assistant Mission Police Chief Martin Garza said the substation is in an area that consists of commercial, industrial and residential properties. The facility will cater to all the needs in the area.

“We want to take the services out to the citizens, instead of the citizens having to look for us,” Garza said. “Without public safety, you can’t bring more growth. People don’t want to invest in an unsecured area.”

Mission Fire Chief Ricardo Saldaña said the new station would boost the area economically, as well.

“This facility plays a critical infrastructure to economic development for this area,” he said. “Without a facility like this, businesses would not be attracted to this area.”

Saldaña said the facility should help lower home and business insurance costs.

“We may not be a revenue generating organization of the city, but we play a factor in the economic development because we are providing that adequate fire protection and quick response for those businesses that want to come,” Saldaña said.

Call response times were six-to-eight minutes or more from their Sharyland fire station. Now calls should take three-to-five minutes because of the accessibility to south Mission.

Saldaña said, the station is staffed by three firefighters, including one lieutenant, at all times. A pumper truck, rescue truck and a rescue boat are housed at the fire station.

To see more pictures, check out our photo gallery.

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CoverageAreaThe Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.

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