‘Emotional blackmail’: Danville anti-casino organizers feel new police station being used to push ‘yes’ casino votes

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 1:01 PM EDT
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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Bringing much-needed space to the Danville Police Department, the proposal for a new $17 million police station is a plan that Dr. Danny Campbell, with anti-casino organization Defend Danville, supports.

“Our chief and his team are community policing, they are getting to know the community, doing a great job and I’d love for them to get new resources in that.” said Campbell.

The proposed agreement is based on whether the referendum on casino gaming passes this November, as the city would use $6 million from casino operator Caesars to pay for construction and leasing payments. However, it doesn’t outline what would happen if the referendum fails. That’s where Campbell sees a problem.

“To get that we have to do something that is wrong and could create more trouble and work for our police officers. I think I would reject that as emotional blackmail and I would be disappointed in anybody that promotes the one to get the other,” said Campbell.

In response, Vice Mayor Gary Miller says all council members are in support of a new station, and a failed referendum would not stop a new station from being built.

“We’ll have to find a way to fund it, with other methods which may or may not involve tax increases and us council people do not want to go there.” said Miller.

Having the funds for the station along with new streams of tax revenue is part of why Miller supports the Caesar’s coming to Danville.

“A good portion of that will be paid by the Caesar’s initial grant, so that is very important to us,” said Miller.

Defending Danville is planning an anti-casino rally October 25.

The city of Danville will hold 3 virtual town halls with residents to discuss potential investment priorities from casino gaming revenues starting October 15.

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