Blending into the community

Dave Schwab

Fri April 25, 2014 12:32pm

Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) is staying put in the Otay Ranch Town Center in Eastern Chula. “CVPD is pleased to have recently renewed our storefront lease at the Otay Ranch Center,” said Chula Vista Police spokesman Lon Turner. “The storefront allows a greater connection with the community members and provides resources for our officers.” Turner said the storefront is currently staffed with volunteers and provides resources for officers in the field. “Operationally, the storefront provides computer access for report writing, telephones and restroom facilities,” he said.
“It’s a community feature. It’s a matter of convenience for the community,” said Otay Ranch Town Center spokesperson Tina Medina about the storefront’s significance in the mall. “It definitely gives us a safety and a convenience factor.” The storefront comes at no expense to taxpayers. The Otay Ranch Town Center and its owners, General Growth Properties, give police the space rent-free. The storefront’s furniture was donated by Jerome’s and the Chula Vista Police Historical Foundation donated artifacts on display in the facility.
Before the storefront was created, residents on Chula Vista’s eastern side would have to travel across town in order to speak to an officer face-to-face. The Otay Ranch Town Center location is a much closer option.
“This is a place where people gravitate to,” said Chula Vista police Lt. Phil Collum, who was instrumental in creating the storefront. “It’s a place where people come naturally.” In 2011 the Chula Vista Police Department opened its newest community storefront inside Otay Ranch Town Center shopping mall directly across from Macy’s Department Store and down the street from REI next to Zales Jewlers.
The satellite facility, staffed by volunteers, is open Monday thru Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Otay Ranch Community Storefront helps bring police and community resources together, while simultaneously helping to maintain safety in local neighborhoods. The storefront provides the community with direct access to a variety of police services including crime public service and crime prevention information, problem solving assistance, access to public law enforcement information such as ARJIS crime mapping and the Megan’s Law records of registered sex offenders.
 Also available at the storefront are a variety of resources about neighborhood watch programs, crime reports, wanted persons and more. Storefront volunteers can also connect residents with Community Resource Officers for assistance with crime problems in their neighborhood.
 The storefront is funded by the Chula Vista Police Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting efforts of the police department, and by other private contributions.