Not only will the days be gone of bumping into each other in the locker room and fighting for a computer to write reports, the new Moscow Police Department facility will lift officer morale and help attract qualified recruits, said MPD officer Caleb Struble.
“We want to have a place where people want to come to work,” he said.
Moscow residents passed the 10-year, $9.64 million general obligation bond Tuesday. The bond, which required a 66.7 percent supermajority to pass, received 69.3 percent voter approval.
“It says a lot about the community and their support for the Moscow Police Department,” Struble said.
The facility, which is expected to be completed north of Pape Machinery on the corner of South Main Street/U.S. Highway 95 and Southview Avenue in 2021, will include a two-story, 16,000-square-foot police station and a 4,000-square-foot outbuilding to house storage spaces for bicycles, motorcycles and evidence.
Cost for the new facility is expected to be $7.89 million. The rest of the bond will cover the cost to remodel the existing police station to accommodate other city office needs ($1.5 million) and the Paul Mann Building next to Moscow City Hall ($132,043).
Struble said the creamery turned police station on East Fourth Street is not equipped for the number of officers on the department’s payroll.
Moscow Capt. Roger Lanier said 37 officers are crammed into a building previously occupied by 18.
“It’s an uncomfortable place to work,” Struble said. “And I think it’s a tough sell for new recruits.”
With a new police station coming, Lanier said he can tell officer candidates they will work, if hired, in a modern, efficient environment, which is a huge selling point.
He said one officer candidate recently expressed concern about the physical environment of the existing station. Another officer candidate waited to see if the bond passed before sending in his application Wednesday morning, Lanier said.
“It’s almost like we’ve got this scab we’re dealing with and we’re trying to bring in new, motivated officers,” Struble said.
The current station’s report writing room has four computers and four phones, he said, which is not sufficient when seven officers or more are sometimes on duty.
Struble said there have been times when all the computers were occupied so he used his vehicle laptop computer to write reports and email them to himself so he could print them inside the station.
“There’s always ways to work around it, but it’s not convenient and it takes more time and it’s more challenging,” Struble said.
The new facility will be built to accommodate existing personnel and future employees given Moscow’s continued growth.
Lanier said officers will be more comfortable and, therefore, happier in the new digs.
“If they have a functional work space, they’re going to be more efficient,” he said. “We don’t have that right now.”
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