Library officials are crediting the increased police presence and other safety measures with a significant decrease in illegal activity this summer. The downtown library has also added cameras, increased waste clean-up around the building and stocked overdose kits on site to treat patrons.
“Just observing how the building feels, there’s been a remarkable change,” said Michelle Jeske, the city librarian. “I don’t see the same activities I did a month ago.”
Typically police have only visited the library when called, but officers began regular visits in May. Police patrolled inside and outside the building for 219 hours between May 11 and June 16, according to a library news release. Both undercover and uniformed officers are are stationed in the library, said John White, a police spokesman.
“It used to be a lot worse here,” said John McClaugherty, a 61-year-old homeless man and library regular who said he stopped using the library briefly due to rampant drug use by others. “It was terrible going in the bathroom, there were needles. I feel a lot safer in here (now).”
Pairs of officers tend to monitor the library for four hours every afternoon, said Chris Henning, a library spokesman.
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