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New police substation possible in Socorro

By: Stacey Welsh

SOCORRO, Texas -- The Socorro Police Department could add a second police substation, after the city conducts a study on the possible project.

The Socorro City Council could approve a study at an upcoming meeting to help plan out a location and the cost of the project.

"It's a feasability study. In this case, there's already a structure that the city owns. Renovating it would probably be cheaper than to build one from the ground up," Lt. Edmundo Montoya of the police department said. Montoya is also acting chief.

Montoya and Socorro Mayor Jesus Ruiz said a building the city owns near Socorro Road and Vinyard Road could be renovated into a new substation.

The city already has a police headquarters on Poona Road and one substation on Rio Vista Road.

"The force isn't that big. I think the place they have on Rio Vista is big enough for the force. I think that it's going to be a waste of money," El Paso County resident Gustavo Morano said.

Montoya said the police department would not hire new officers if it began using a second substation. He said about 25 officers currently on the force would be split up between the different locations.

Because the possible new location has more space available, Montoya also said administrators could move in there, and the city could find another use for the current headquarters.
While the El Paso Police Department is working on adding another regional command center in the far east part of town, Montoya said it's reasonable for a city like Socorro to add another substation.
"We're not as big as El Paso, so we don't have to staff it like they do. They're growing so much that they need just a whole new set of officers to put in that building," Montoya said.
The city is also in the process of hiring a police chief.
"We're moving forward but it would be great if they could resolve it and have the new chief in place by that time," Montoya said.
Ruiz said the city would need to finish the study by the fall for the substation project to be on the next budget.