The Moscow Police Department, crammed into a facility that originally operated as a creamery nearly a century ago, is moving into new headquarters on the south side of town.
No longer will residents have to drive around looking for parking spaces, suspects won’t be traipsed down a long, busy hallway to be interviewed, and female officers can change into uniform in a regular locker room, not a converted closet.
“We couldn’t be more ready to make this move,” Moscow police Chief James Fry said.
Staff will begin operating in the new, two-story, 15,300-square-foot headquarters off U.S. Highway 95 on Monday, he said. The facility’s location and how it’s designed will enable the force to be more transparent and responsive.
The visitor-friendly lobby will accommodate more interactions between police and the public, Fry explained. Also, a spacious police training room will be used to host nearly 50 participants during citizen’s academy sessions, where residents learn the inner workings of the department – double the number that could fit in the old building’s room.
“The new facility is welcoming, more accessible to the public and much easier for our officers to egress during emergencies,” he said.
The old police headquarters, constructed as Korter’s Creamery that sold bottled milk in the 1930s and ‘40s, is located on a dead-end street that’s only accessible by a busy one-way street or a narrow alley.
Fry recalled when he tried to respond to a vehicle accident but a parked delivery truck blocked his car from exiting through the alley.
“I had to put my car in reverse and back all the way out. On top of that, the street was backed up with rush-hour traffic, he said. “Times like that, our location hindered our emergency response time. With our new location, we’ll be quicker to respond.”
Which is crucial, because when it comes to responding to 911 calls, “minutes matter, seconds matter,” said Patrol officer McKenzie Fosberg, who has served on the department for seven years.
“If we can get places faster, we can get help to people who need it faster,” she said.
In May 2019, Moscow voters approved a 10-year, $9.64 million general obligation bond to fund construction of the new building, an act that reflects community support of the department, Fosberg said.
“We’re really grateful,” she said.
The new space – with a grid of large windows to provide natural light, ample parking for the public and police cars alike, and a centralized, temperature-controlled evidence room – is well-suited to meet the needs of a growing, evolving department and the residents it serves, Fry said.
It will be headquarters to nine support staff, 37 officers and even a new canine officer.
Come April, Fry said, a narcotics detection dog will join the Moscow police force.
“It’s the first time in the department’s history that we’ve ever had a dog,” Fry said.
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