Watching the 12th District

08/01/2012 10:00 PM

Editorial

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It’s almost time for heaven and earth to move on the Near West Side, West Loop and West Town, and for the 12th and 13th district police stations to merge.

It’ll be a big change, one that’ll shift the center of the police force in neighborhoods just west of downtown down to the south, putting them smack in the middle of the former ABLA homes.

To those saying this shouldn’t happen, particularly activists loathe to see their 13th District station shuttered, we say it’s time to let go. This move is set in stone, and it’s time to start dealing with the realities of the shift, like ’em or not.

First and foremost is the question of who’ll run the new 12th District station. Frank Gross, the 13th District’s commander, would appear to be the frontrunner, as he’s the only full-fledged commander between the two stations. We haven’t dealt with him much at Chicago Journal, but when we have run into him, we’ve found him to be both friendly and candid.

But Captain Ron Pontecore, the 12th District’s acting commander, is no slouch. We spent some time with him last week getting to know him at Fiesta Del Sol in Pilsen, and he’s a sharp cop who seems to be well-liked by his troops. With eight years of experience at the city’s police academy, as well, he knows how to help support and nourish his people.

Either would be a fine choice. And for the record, we don’t think West Town will be any worse off without a police station on the corner of Wood and Augusta, any less than the West Loop will be worse off without one at Racine and Monroe. They’ll still have their beat cops, and neither area is particularly hurting with crime.

However, the area around the new 12th District station could sorely use some saturation from the police. The ABLA area has seen a depressing bump in its violence and gang activity lately. Dropping a new police station right in the middle of it is sure to have some kind of effect.

We’re excited for the men and women of the 12th and 13th districts. Whatever happens with the stations’ leadership this fall, they should be in good hands, and they’ll have brand new comfy digs at the station.

Good luck, officers. Godspeed.

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