The Wheeling Police Department is seeking additional office space to open more satellite stations in city neighborhoods.
Two satellite stations where officers can do paperwork, meet with residents and take lunch breaks opened Wednesday. Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, along with city, Wheeling Park Commission and Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce officials, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the openings of the offices - one in the Warwood Plaza and the other inside Wheeling Park's White Palace.
Schwertfeger said the purpose of the stations is to allow officers patrolling those areas to do necessary paperwork without having to drive back to the downtown headquarters.
A resident of one of those neighborhoods who wants to meet with an officer without having to drive downtown can do so at the satellite station instead, he added.
''This will keep the (officers) in Warwood instead of them driving downtown for administrative tasks,'' he said.
The Warwood office space is located next to Smoker Friendly.
It was offered to the department rent free by owner R&T Real Estate, said property manager Jerry Kopyar. The Wheeling Park Commission also created a free space for a satellite office at the White Palace.
Schwertfeger said he decided the Warwood and Wheeling Park stations should open first because of their distance from the downtown. The next neighborhoods where he hopes to open satellites are South Wheeling and Wheeling Island, though office space is being sought in other neighborhoods as well.
Councilwoman Gloria Delbrugge, who represents Warwood and North Wheeling, said she was pleased with the opening of the Warwood station.
For several years she has lobbied to have a police cruiser dedicated to patrolling only Warwood.
''This satellite office is the answer. ... I think it's going to make a big difference,'' Delbrugge said.