Bal Harbour police set up shop at the mall.
By RODOLFO ROMAN
Special to The Miami Herald
A former high-fashion clothing store is now a new police station for Bal Harbour’s men and women in uniform.
On Wednesday, the village hosted a dedication ceremony for the new 2,554-square-foot police station on the second floor of the The Bal Harbour Shops at 9700 Collins Ave.
The site was formerly home to an Escada store. Last year, the Bal Harbour council agreed to a seven-year lease with the mall to house the substation. Equipped with face-recognition cameras and flat-screen televisions, the second-floor substation is also protected in case of hurricanes or flooding — making it easier for police officers to respond to emergencies, said Police Chief Thomas Hunker.
“If a hurricane hits we are totally surrounded by concrete,” said Hunker. “Communications won’t be affected because of the altitude.”
The two-floor station will become a defacto headquarters for 22 uniformed officers, a secretary, four dispatchers and two public-service aides. The department moved its communications equipment, a locker, and property room there as well. Funds from confiscated criminal proceeds were used to purchase new equipment.
The old station, 655 96th St., had leaks and mold problems, said Hunker. However, the administrative and investigative functions of the police department — including the`If a hurricane hits we are totally surrounded by concrete.’
BAL HARBOUR POLICE CHIEF
THOMAS HUNKER, about new police
substation in the The Bal Harbour Shops
chief’s office, two captains and four detectives — will remain at the current station next to village hall.
Officer Jeffery Hatcher said the new station will make it easier to combat crime. “When you have more space and you are not congested you can perform work duties a whole lot better,” he said.
Residents can make police reports at both facilities. The Shops will offer free parking to people visiting the substation.
The village will make 84 monthly payments to cover the cost of renovating the interior of the mall space. The cost will be capped at $400,000, according to the village’s agreement.
Bal Harbour also will be charged an interest rate by the Shops, which cannot exceed 6 percent. The monthly payments will come from the village’s general fund.
For more information on the Bal Harbour substation, call 305-866-4633.