SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Pyramid Management Group owns 14 malls across the northeast, three of which have substations for local police, according to an investigation by NewsChannel 9.
Sangertown Square in New Hartford, Crossgates outside of Albany and Poughkeepsie Galleria have satellite offices for their local police officers who patrol the malls.
Conversations and meetings between Syracuse city leaders and Pyramid may result in a long-considered substation for Syracuse Police at the company’s biggest property, Destiny USA.
Conversations about putting a substation at Destiny USA have happened for years, but a gang-related shooting at the mall on Black Friday has pushed the mall to review its security.
Thursday, NewsChannel 9’s Andrew Donovan was first to report renewed conversations to put a substation inside the mall. Friday, both the Syracuse Mayor and Police Chief expressed willingness to consider a substation in addition to other security improvements.
Late Friday, mall owners Pyramid Management Group announced it’s increasing the number of police officers and, for the first time, adding county probation officers to the mall patrols.
Sangertown Square Mall, New Hartford
At Pyramid’s closest mall outside of Syracuse, the New Hartford Police Department has long had a satellite office on location.
To the best of his memory, the New Hartford police chief claims the substation opened in the early 1990s.
According to the chief, the office is not staffed around the clock, but is used by officers at nearby calls and used to process any complaints received on the premises of Sangertown, including arrests.
Sangertown Square provides the office space at no cost.
To patrol the mall, Pyramid pays New Hartford police officers a negotiated hourly rate and pays the town an additional hourly rate to cover the cost of benefits for those officers.
Chief Michael Inserra writes, “We have had an outstanding relationship with Pyramid over the course of our partnership and because of this we are able to offer better policing services to not only the visitors to the mall, but also the vendors.”
Crossgates Mall and Crossgates Commons, Guilderland
Crossgates is Pyramid’s largest mall with a police substation.
The police chief tells NewsChannel 9’s Andrew Donovan that the Guilderland Police Department has operated a substation at the mall since 1994 in a space donated by Pyramid.
While it is not staffed all the time, the office gives officers space to book arrested suspects and handle investigations in the mall.
Pyramid pays to have police officers assigned to the mall, based on need, including every weekend during the holidays.
The chief writes, “The Guilderland Police Department enjoys a very good relationship with the Mall. We have regular meetings with security and management. “
Pyramid’s third substation hosts officers from the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department. The town supervisor tells NewsChannel 9, like the other substation, the mall provides the space at no cost.
No Substation in Buffalo
For Syracuse shoppers, it was the day after Thanksgiving. For Buffalo shoppers, it was the day after Christmas last year.
No guns were fired, but three large fights and a loud bang from a knocked-over metal sign sent crowds running in fear.
The community demanded answers from Cheektowaga Police and Pyramid Management Group about how the prevent similar violence from happening in the future.
Together, the mall and Cheektowaga police chief increased patrols to as many as 25 officers at times.
But, to the disappointment of some shoppers, the violence didn’t lead to a police substation. The chief tells NewsChannel 9 that a substation doesn’t make sense for Walden Galleria, because his police headquarters are already so close to the mall and he’d want to staff the office at every hour.
In regards to his relationship with Pyramid, the chief tells NewsChannel 9’s Andrew Donovan, “I would say we have a decent relationship. They’ve been here a long time. I think the dialogue has always been productive.”
A spokesperson for Pyramid Management Group did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
For more local news, follow Andrew Donovan on Twitter @AndrewDonovan