More growth in Far East El Paso but will that include a new police station?

ABC-7 is asking how the city plans to address safety and police patrols on the heels of a land annexation Tuesday

No Police Substation in Far East El Paso - Yet

EL PASO, Texas - Now that El Paso's City Council approved the annexation of 310 acres in Far East El Paso -- much of which to be dedicated to home development -- ABC-7 is asking how the city plans to address safety and police patrols on that side of town.

According to the latest data from the 2010 Census, about 218,000 people live from Robert E. Lee Road to the city limits in the far east, which is the area patrolled by officers with the El Paso Police Department's Pebble Hills Regional Command Station.

That area it will continue to grow with Tuesday's land acquisition by the city. Much of the land will developed to accommodate 1,132 houses.

Eastside City Rep. Dr. Michiel Noe acknowledged that growth is increasing the demand on police officers.

"Talks have been ongoing since I got elected, on putting a far east command center out there," Noe told ABC-7 Tuesday. "Pebble Hills is stretched too thin."

The increase in demand on police is so high, calls deemed "low priority" by police can take 8 to 12 hours to be addressed on busy weekends.

"We understand the need and the growth is so significant," Deputy City Manager David Almonte told ABC-7 in May. "It's almost like you go out there every month and things have changed."

Almonte said the city is working on creating a new police command station to accommodate the growth.

"We had to try and decide what is the best location to put that facility at where it helps create the least amount of response time and the provide coverage of the area," he explained.

"We need to build another command center," said Noe. "But there are other problems with that. You can't build a command center unless you can staff it. So staffing is another issue."

Two more issues include the lack of a location for the command station. Dr. Noe told ABC-7 the city still hasn't settled on a site.

According to ABC-7 reports in July 2014, the city didn't include the costs of constructing a command station in this year's budget.

City Manager Tommy Gonzalez had said during budget talks this summer that adding a regional command station is a long term goal, and something he would be investigating along with city staff for future years.

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