New police office on Race Street

MD-Police on Race Street_2x

Special to the Dorchester Banner
Police officers John Foster and Christopher Phillips stand outside of the new Cambridge Police office at 428 Race St. in downtown Cambridge. Funded by donations, the new office will help to increase police presence downtown.

CAMBRIDGE — A walk on the 400 block of Race Street will be a little bit different now. The “vacant” sign at 428 is gone and a new storefront is opening with something new. What this storefront will offer us is “a police presence.” Police Chief Dan Dvorak says, “Our focus is to create a positive presence in the downtown area. Having a police office lends to a feeling of safety for visitors and residents.”

A triple play … the chief’s enterprising spirit, a retired dentist’s generosity, and a public-spirited move by the Chamber of Commerce have produced a Community Office downtown, even when there was no budget for such a place.

The story starts with Chief Dvorak spotting the “For Rent” sign on 428. With a door painted “police blue” and its perfect size, the chief figured it was destiny. He called the owner, Dr. Tony Calabro, a retired dentist who practiced for 30 years in Cambridge. Dr. Calabro agreed that having a police tenant would be good for the downtown neighborhood and good for his empty space. They agreed on a price, FREE, until later on if a real renter came along to rent the place. In that case, something else would turn up.

Of course, the office will have utility bills, but that was not in the police budget either. In stepped Bill Christopher of the Chamber of Commerce, and that business group will foot the utility bill. The Department of Public Works found some unused but adequate furniture. Sgt. Patton and Officer John Foster have prepared displays in the windows and inside the office will include children’s books and crime prevention literature. A bike patrol will be a presence too.

This is the second community substation for the police department in Cambridge in a year’s time. By May, a community officer will be staffing 428 Race St. “Our goal is to make this a welcome place for residents and businessowners,” says Chief Dvorak. Ideas, generosity, and cooperation have a way of accomplishing little miracles.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.