We Need a New Police Station
The question of building a new police station has repeatedly come before our community and our City Council. We have studied the question ‘DO WE REALLY NEED A NEW POLICE STATION?” and the answer is YES, THE FIRST QUESTION IS FINANCING THE POLICE STATION. Using councilmanic bonds, our taxes will not go up. This is because the bonds sold to pay for the construction of City Hall are just now being paid off. The new bonds will merely continue the same funding. There will be no increase. This is a good time to sell bonds, while interest rates are low. Additionally, when the police move out of their current station that valuable property will be sold to lower the cost to the City.
Couldn’t the Current Building be upgraded? A tour of this old building (originally built in 1945, and renovations made in 1969 and 1982) shows many major problems. Both these remodels were done when the Island population was less than half of what it is today. https://www.bainbridgewa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/3713/FINAL-Needs-Assessment---Mackenzie-July-2014?bidId=
Safety: The building is not earthquake-safe and retrofitting would be next to impossible and totally impractical.
There is no secure locking evidence room. This means that items in evidence collected in conjunction with a crime are not secure. This room is neither earthquake nor fire proof. Key evidence could be lost either through these risks, or from contamination.
There is no Sallyport- a secured, controlled entryway used to bring a criminal or violent person into the police station.
There is no secured parking lot for police vehicles. Right now, a person could take a rock, break open a police vehicle window and steal police equipment when a police car is sitting unprotected in the public access area.
Privacy/Accessibility: There is no private conference room where a victim can safely and privately share a traumatic experience with an investigating police officer. There are only two bathrooms. One is on an upper floor, and there is no elevator. The building is not ADA compliant. These bathrooms serve 25 police plus several staff plus the general public who visit the station.
Police readiness: We expect our officers to dress at home and come to work fully prepared. Should something happen while on duty that requires a uniform change, there is no place to shower and change into a clean uniform. Some have questioned the need for a gym. Our police spend most of their time driving around in cars. Yet we expect them to be physically fit and able to bring strength and endurance to emergency situations. Providing an appropriate exercise space will help our officers stay fit and consequently will lessen on-the-job injuries and the resultant expenses of sick and disability leave, as well as the short staffing which can result.
Our conclusion is that YES, a new police station is in the best interest of our police force and our community as a whole. We have a well-functioning team who serve to protect all of us. We owe them a safe and secure place as a base for their work.