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COPS gets central location

Thu., March 19, 2009

Downtown spot at Main and Stevens

Hundreds of people turned out last week when Greater Spokane COPS celebrated the opening of its new office on the second floor of the 1889 Building on the corner of Stevens Street and Main Avenue.

An antique police car and a hyper-modern SWAT team vehicle – aka the BearCat – flanked the door under the bright awning, as visitors stopped by for a snack.

“We hope this will become a meeting place for everyone around here,” said Maurece Vulcano, program coordinator for COPS. “We plan to do a lot of outreach to our business neighbors – it’s just a great spot.”

It would be difficult to find a more central location, right next to the Parkade and just a short walk to Riverfront Park, downtown shopping and the Convention Center.

“If you can’t find us now, then I guess you shouldn’t be driving,” said Christy Hamilton, Spokane COPS director.

The Greater Spokane COPS substation will serve the downtown core and the southwest neighborhoods of Spokane. COPS Southwest was closed awhile back and the old downtown COPS substation on West First was closed, too.

“We can’t say thank you enough to the myriad of people that have made this substation a reality,” Hamilton said.

Spokane police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick was one of the speakers at the opening.

“This is so cool,” Kirkpatrick said. “I’m a visionary. My vision was that this would be a sightseeing destination, a tourist attraction, something you’d go see.”

Kirkpatrick praised the airy rooms, freshly painted in modern colors with raw steel accents and funky light fixtures, as did everyone else there.

The old COPS station, 1201 W. First Ave., will soon come back to life as the area’s law enforcement museum.

“We are in the process of making plans, finding out what we want to do and how we want to remodel,” said Susan Walker, secretary and treasurer of the Spokane Law Enforcement Museum. Currently, the museum stocks about 3,000 items in Glen Whitley’s basement.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to open in late spring or early summer,” Walker said. “What we do is on a straight volunteer basis.”

She said Whitley, who’s the curator and president of the museum, has done an excellent job of preserving the antiques and collectibles at his house.

“But we can’t wait to get the things out there where people can see them,” Walker said. “It’ll make for much easier access for anyone who’s interested.”

Reach Pia Hallenberg Christensen at (509) 459-5427 or

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