After months of clamoring for a ramped-up police presence following a spike in crime, Coconut Grove residents are getting what they asked for: A new Miami police substation will open in the heart of the West Grove Saturday.
This will be the Grove’s first and only permanent police substation, at 3727 Grand Ave. There will be a community celebration at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 8 to commemorate the opening.
“The primary objective is to bring the police department closer to the community where they work. I think there’s been a disconnect between the police department and the community,” said Commander Manuel Morales, a neighborhood enhancement officer for Coconut Grove.
“We depend tremendously on the help that we get from the community to focus our efforts,” he added.
The substation will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and will be staffed with narcotics and undercover operations expert Sgt. Albert Pacheco, four problem-solving team officers, five beat officers and two neighborhood resource officers.
Pacheco’s assignment is no accident: “One of our main focuses is going to be to combat the sale and distribution of illegal narcotics in the West Grove,” Morales said.
The substation is made possible by a $36,000 donation from the Sarnoff Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 2012 by District 2 City Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff to raise private funds for civic projects. Additional donations were made by County Commissioner Xavier Suarez.
Sarnoff has been a vocal advocate for more police hires, demanding during the city’s budget discussions that $10 million be allocated for raises and 100 new officers be hired. The city ultimately hired 25 new recruits.