Note from Ivan on the Cop Shop

Update: The meeting dates for the Police Facility Advisory Committee are Wednesday, June 11; Thursday, June 19; and Thursday, June 26; all at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers.

[Once again, Ivan Krpan brings us one of his “comments”–this time on the city’s advisory committee for the new police station–that should have been a post in itself so I’m bringing it to the top. But for goodness’ sake, would some of y’all who get on a roll like that with first-hand information or analysis please register to post under your name? It’s a painless process and I am glad to help with formatting and the like; just save as a draft and let me know you need help with “bloggifying.” Now here’s Ivan.]

You know it always seems that when it rains it pours. Like in my business, it seems that all of the tools all start breaking down at the same time and probably will again because now I’m replacing them all at the same time. Kind of sounds like DeKalb’s infrastructure and building needs.

The citizens advisory committee met for its first meeting last night to get a detailed explanation of all that has happened to this point from the start of discussing the need for a new police station which actually started close to 9 years ago. Reasons why choices have been made and how those choices will help today and tomorrow as this community grows through the upcoming 20 years.

First, I must go on record to say, unbelievably awful and embarrassing! That is the feeling that I had when I completed my personal tour of the DeKalb Police Department. I absolutely take my hat off to all of these committed officers for putting up with what they have for a station. This current station does not fit their needs at all for the work they are responsible to do today.

I thought the high school was approaching bad. Fellow citizens of DeKalb, this station is way pass bad.

Old bathrooms and closets are actually used for offices and files of that officer. Interrogation rooms that have thinner walls than most college apartments. A ladies locker room that was a previous janitors’ closet. Their shower space is a closet now for winter and rain gear. Mold is all over the ceilings and walls of the gun range and meeting area. The actual police station office area, resembles more Grand Central Station than a secure and professional law enforcement office. 911 communciations is cramped for 2 dispatchers but runs up to 3, really could use 8 stations to run the way a 911 center should. Air quality is awful, holding cells are a joke. The detectives’ area where literally every case is examined and investigated is inadequate for space and necessary lab work. Literally no safety measures are in place for employees and guests who are constantly having criminals paraded right past their desk and stations.

I do encourage all to talk to an officer about the current station and even better yet, stop by and ask for a brief tour. It won’t take long for you to feel the same.

The committee has an interesting charge as the council is looking for a recommendation on how to proceed whether now or postpone to later date, build for today and expand tomorrow (never makes sense when you know you are already short of space and growing) and how does the city expect to pay for this.

Hopefully, we can help in a positive direction that will give the officers of this community who we count on to “serve and protect” us everyday, 24 hours a day. With times like they are for all of us today, the need is great and hopefully we can generate some great ideas to how this can be done with as little impact to the taxpayers of this community financially. We’ve have to figure how to do this for our police department.