Archive for Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lawrence City Commission considers need for new police department building

June 14, 2011


Lawrence city leaders Tuesday talked about approaching other Douglas County public safety agencies about their space needs as they discussed potential for a new law enforcement facility several years down the road.

The discussion came amid a City Commission study session about the Lawrence Police Department’s budget, as Chief Tarik Khatib has said the department needs more officers and would like to avoid being split between two facilities downtown and in west Lawrence.

“I think the police department needs a 21st-century facility,” City Manager David Corliss said. “They're not in one at either of their locations now.”

Currently, the department is largely split between its patrol division downtown in the same building as Douglas County District Court, and the Douglas County Sheriff’s operations division and its investigations and most administration at the Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway, in an a building originally designed as a laboratory.

Commissioners largely said they would be wary of putting up money for major maintenance work in the west Lawrence building and instead talked about a five- to seven-year plan for a new law enforcement facility.

Corliss mentioned a similar process about helping to build the new Lawrence Douglas County Fire and Medical station near the intersection of 19th and Iowa streets, but he said there were no specific plans yet for a new police facility.

City commissioners asked staff members to approach the sheriff’s office and Kansas University Public Safety Office specifically to gauge interest in a joint law enforcement building over the next couple months. City commissioners also asked for much more specific information about the current police facilities.

The facilities questions was one major part of the police budget discussion, but no decisions were made during Tuesday’s study session. Khatib also said he believed the department needed to add 17 patrol positions to handle its current work load and work to reduce crime.

“We’ve got the immediate needs now, and I’d like to try to get a forward movement on some things.” Khatib said. “Obviously we've got the budget issues to deal with as well. That's a choice you guys are going to have to make.”

Corliss said among adding positions citywide, one of the greatest needs is among patrol officers.

As part of the commissioner’s 2012 budget, Khatib has requested $1.2 million from the commission to add 10 patrol officers, a detective, three sergeants and some equipment. It would amount to a 1.4-mill increase to the city’s property tax rate, or $32 per year more annually for the owner of a $200,000 home.

The chief also said Lawrence’s crime rate is higher than some comparable communities and that a recent survey of 28 comparable cities across the nation show Lawrence officers are handing a high volume of calls per officer.

Mayor Aron Cromwell said the department has also received high marks from the community in city surveys, which also likely means the department has high expectations to live up to.

“I believe we are in a safe community, but there are things that we should be doing to ensure that safety and increase that safety for the future,” Cromwell said. “That's what we're here to talk about.”


jimroberts 6 years, 11 months ago

The officers that are dispatched to calls are out in the patrol cars, not in the facilities. I would be in favor of fifteen patrol officers and two sergeants positions. The department already has 17 detectives, which is 20% of the patrol officers. If my memory serves me right, the patrol officers are the ones that process the crime scenes and do the investigation work anyways.

BigPrune 6 years, 11 months ago

They could buy the building under construction next to the parking garage since they store their vehicles there anyway. It will be more of an $18 Million library way of doing it instead of anything else.

You gotta hand it to Corliss, fiscal conservative he is not. Always wanting to spend OUR money, because WE love to spend it through higher taxes.

Alceste 6 years, 11 months ago

There are too many police in Lawrence as it is at present. It's time to downsize. "It's just like looking in your mirror and seeing a police car". More haunting words have yet to be written....

Stuart Evans 6 years, 11 months ago

This is the truly haunting thought. This is the mindset that allows a police presence to slowly encroach on their lives. Now it's not your problem because you don't break the law; but just wait until the law changes and it doesn't fit your life model any longer. then you've got an overgrown police presence and no way to avoid it.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

Hmmm, did you pretty much say: It's just like *, and then looking in your mirror and seeing a police car!

Yes, your heart would skip a beat, I'm sure!

  • = insert crime of your choice!

50YearResident 6 years, 11 months ago

Didn't I just read a Journal World Story about Lawrence and Manhattan are the two highest taxed cities in the entire State already? Now you want to add yet another major Tax?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

No, you are confused. The article ran June 13, 2011, and the title was:

"Survey shows Lawrence crime rate higher than average in several categories"

ferrislives 6 years, 11 months ago

Actually, 50YearResident is referring to this article, not the one you mentioned:

"Analysis shows Lawrence has high local tax burden"

ferrislives 6 years, 11 months ago

Sure vertigo. Why don't you explain his "joke" to me.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

It's an old Firesign Theater line, concerning the sun settting:

"No, no, no, my boy. You are confused. The horizon is rising up!"

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

A clip:

In the early 70s, you could say, "Wait a minute, Danger. What about my pickle?" and people would go off on long riff and quotes of the absurdist dialog that were their stock in trade. The Firesign Theater created more in-joke quotes than anyone except Python:

"That's just a two-bit ring from a Crackerback jox."
"She's no fun.  She fell right over."
"Antelope Freeway, one half mile."
"What kind of chump do you take me for?"  "First class."
"I can shout.  Don't hear you."
"And you can believe me, because I never lie, and I'm always right."
"You can wait here in the sitting room, or you can sit here in the waiting room."

ferrislives 6 years, 11 months ago

Interesting Ron. Thanks for the clarification. Not meaning to be mean, but I guess I'm a little too young to remember that; I was a 70's baby :-)

ferrislives 6 years, 11 months ago

That's what I don't get bd. Everyone's struggling, yet the city doesn't give a crap about it. They're just continuing to spend as if we have endless funds for things like new logos on cars. Is that a necessity? I think not. And building a new building to house everyone? That's great in theory, but it's again not a necessity right now. I wouldn't be surprised if Lawrence eventually went bankrupt like other cities have across the nation.

blindrabbit 6 years, 11 months ago

Need a building just to store all the idle patrol cars; just drive by the parking lot on the south side of the Judicial Building to gain proof.

Food_for_Thought 6 years, 11 months ago

The jail is a County facility, with County employees. How would putting deputies on patrol help the City police department with its patrol needs?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

Unless the population growth picks up substantially I say forget it.

No great employment opportunities combined with higher gasoline prices may well mean our population will continue to drop for awhile. Which is why is it hard for me to understand all of the continued residential development.

Is city hall creating an even larger money hole?

Former Lawrence people who moved to KCMO metro say it cost too much to live in Lawrence.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

"Unless the population growth picks up substantially I say forget it."

There are a few people who are more worried about the crime rate than the population growth. LJWorld, June 13, 2011, the title was: "Survey shows Lawrence crime rate higher than average in several categories". Remember? Or, if you would rather live in a city that has an even higher crime rate than we have, I am sure you could find one. Topeka, maybe?

"why is it hard for me to understand all of the continued residential development."

Maybe there are more renters or buyers than you think. Or, are you under the impression that the developers are building for imaginary tenants or buyers?

"Former Lawrence people who moved to KCMO metro say it cost too much to live in Lawrence."

If they want to live there, fine. I don't think any of them were missed much. And I bet you can't name 12 of them.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

US Housing Crisis Is Now Worse Than Great Depression

by: Jeff Cox Staff Writer Published: Tuesday, 14 Jun 2011 | 12:04 PM ET

It's official: The housing crisis that began in 2006 and has recently entered a double dip is now worse than the Great Depression.

Prices have fallen some 33 percent since the market began its collapse, greater than the 31 percent fall that began in the late 1920s and culminated in the early 1930s, according to Case-Shiller data.

The news comes as the Federal Reserve considers whether the economy has regained enough strength to stand on its own and as unemployment remains at a still-elevated 9.1 percent, throwing into question whether the recovery is real.

"The sharp fall in house prices in the first quarter provided further confirmation that this housing crash has been larger and faster than the one during the Great Depression," Paul Dales, senior economist at Capital Economics in Toronto, wrote in research for clients.

According to Case-Shiller, which provides the most closely followed housing industry data, prices dropped 1.9 percent in the first quarter, a move that the firm interpreted as a clear double dip in prices.

Moreover, Dales said prices likely have not completed their downturn.

"The only comfort is that the latest monthly data show that towards the end of the first quarter prices started to fall at a more modest rate," he said. "Nonetheless, prices are likely to fall by a further 3 percent this year, resulting in a 5 percent drop over the year as a whole."

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

Exactly what does this have to do with a possible need for new police department building?

LadyJ 6 years, 11 months ago

Out of curiosity, where would this be located? Seems like it would have to be moved to the edge of town somewhere. Isn't there also a separate building where you go to pay tickets and I believe the D.A's office. Then the Animal and Parking Control is in offices located in the parking garage. I like the idea of the police department being downtown and would hate to see it moved way out like the county facility is. Use the park that is right next to it, you still have the park across the street. Art in the Park can find another location. Don't forget we still have the old YH building that supposedly the police department was after for a satellite building, surely it's big enough.

average 6 years, 11 months ago

Not necessarily the edge of town at all, though I'm sure plenty of the good-old-boy developers wouldn't mind selling them a parcel at a nice markup.

Mentioning the 19th/Iowa firehouse and a possible combined facility with KU Public Safety gives you an idea, since it'd be pretty silly for KUPSO to be on the edge of town. If KU Endowment agreed, lots of space on West Campus, either on 15th (like KUPSO is currently) or possibly on Clinton Pkwy SW of the park-and-ride. The latter makes sense for easier east/west access

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

"Use the park that is right next to it, you still have the park across the street. Art in the Park can find another location."

The open space just south of downtown is part of what gives Lawrence its character. Can you imagine New York City without Central Park?

The park is used for many other purposes than just Art in the Park. South Park was part of the original 1854 town site. The bandstand, or the South Park gazebo, was erected in May 1906.

And you think it should be gotten rid of just for today's convenience. I don't think Lawrence is that sort of town.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

But, if you want to live in that sort of town I am sure you could find one.

LadyJ 6 years, 11 months ago

That wasn't very nice, do you really think it was necessary? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say it was a spur of the moment thing, in the heat of the moment, and normally you wouldn't have done it.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

I was in a cranky mood in the early morning, and I really like the park! Sorry, but I'm sure there are other solutions than to use part of our heritage for today's purposes.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

I can't think of one offhand, but I'm not that familiar with downtown as it exists today. There used to be blighted areas, not so much now. I'm sure that some solution that is better than giving up our park can be found, though.

LadyJ 6 years, 11 months ago

Hope you didn't take the YH suggestion too seriously either.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

No, I didn't.

In fact I didn't realize you were talking about Yellow House until just now.

Dan Simons 6 years, 11 months ago

I am biased, but I will say it again. The riverfront mall, on city land, with a large parking deck, could house the new library and police station for way less the the library alone

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

Wasn't there a bit of a problem with flooding there in '93?

introspector 6 years, 11 months ago

thats no biased... thats just thoughtless... we could get better ideas from a magic 8 ball...

William McCauley 6 years, 11 months ago

The problem with your thoughts on the subject Dan is, well yes your biased, there will be the standard input from some about how your just part of the rich white guy crowd that runs the town...... but mostly the real problem is the fact you just make too much damn sense and are too forward thinking for most people running the show around here.

I liked the library idea when you first posted it, but for a new cops shop, maybe not, just because traffic in that bend with a lights @ 6th & mass, you get a lot of back ups there in afternoons, a lot of times to the driveway of RFM. I think it's a lot of wasted & a under developed plot of real estate in our community, it always has been starting with the chopping down of those trees to build there.... it's never has been the big hit it was touted to be, a lot like that scrap pile over in north L.

Yep someone had a dream & thought people would like to hang out there in the new mall and look @ the Kaw and that location would be a huge hit for the town. Well the Kaw is not very scenic to most folks or really known as a travel hot spot in fly over country. Might be nice spot for reading a book next to a big window over looking the river though, I'm sure the bums would love a library there for the shorter commuting and all.

You really can't dress up the old Kaw or the north side view, there is only so much you can do with that property, location sucks for traffic in & out at peek times of days and then there is tracks & trains too, I sure there is a lot of reasons retail or the mall failed there, but there must be a good use that would better our community as a whole and a larger, cheaper library already with parking garage is a damn good idea!

Too bad no one would hear you out on that idea. I'm not surprised, it's Lawrence after all.

irvan moore 6 years, 11 months ago

i'm not biased (ok, i suppose i reall am) but i think the same as mr. Simons, it's a no brainer to put a new library and the police department and maybe some other city offices in the old mall site. the problem is that there would be no "reason" to build the parking garage. us old folks could sit on the outer deck and drink coffee feeling a sense of security that our tax dollars were being spent in a sensible manner. i don't know why the city won't look at mr. Simons property but they are doing a huge disservice to the citizens of Lawrence.

introspector 6 years, 11 months ago

why are we changing our 1.2 million dollar reason around?! O.O this is just like the water intake crap. shouldnt have chased Lowe's off and then we wouldn't be so broke right now and going to these desperate lengths to get money that isnt going to be there. nobody really needed that previous article that told us all Lawrence economy was on the fritz. get Lowe's on the phone!

somedude20 6 years, 11 months ago

sorry only one big expensive building a decade and you got the 18 million dollar drop in center, I mean library, sorry chief Kabob

Kontum1972 6 years, 11 months ago

change the name from Lawrence, Ks to Calamity. Ks.

introspector 6 years, 11 months ago

Amen to that. I think LJworld should find and post an article containing the current salaries of all these decision/excuse making city hall richies. Im betting the whole city (those who pay any attention) would be disgusted and enraged. Im betting that, because for them, (since power tends to corrupt) it would be way easier to hike the price of every bill we're forced to pay than cut their own paychecks a little. Either way... they are making way more annually than any of us to sit on their thrones screwing everything up and that shouldn't be the case if the job they're doing doesn't suffice.

P.S. still mad about Lowe's + why not stop blowing off the parking tickets that get handed out on mass and find a way to make people pay them?? why employ people to dish out these stupid petty tickets and then refuse to collect?? pathetic excuse for leadership imho.

tkmoore 6 years, 11 months ago

I love it!!!! Find more ways to spend money (Glad I Moved away from lawrence) best move i ever made.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

You've never looked back, and you're posting here?

homechanger 6 years, 11 months ago

Yet you continue to read the local news and comment on line. Your new local must be pretty boring.

50YearResident 6 years, 11 months ago

A new police building will probably be like the library. They will put it to a vote and then before the day of voting will put out a statement that the building will need a new multi story parking garage that will only add $5 Million to the package and hardly raise the mills, so voting yes, will include the parking garage. The garage will save us money in the long run. (Somehow)

introspector 6 years, 11 months ago

Do note the "five-to-seven year plan" portion of this article. What that ultimately means is they want 1.2 million dollars (which is way more than enough considering, in reality, there is hardly any crime here.) and they dont have to produce any results for nearly a decade. Its 1.2 million dollars of tax payer money (thats you and me) that is practically vanishing. Lets not forget the water intake that has been broken for years they need millions to fix all of the sudden as well which gives them an excuse to raise everyones water bill which is already outrageously high (unless I have a leak over here or something). Whoever is calling the shots at the top is what, I predict at some point in the future, will be widely known and accepted as "mentally challenged". This is the sort of thing we (the good citizens of Lawrence as a unit) need to protest [peacefully] in the streets about. This city is rapidly and steadily going right down the economic toilet and all due to extremely poor decision making.

LadyJ 6 years, 11 months ago

Would it be feasible to move the Douglas County District Court out of the building and have it just be the Police Dept.? I would rather see the court stuff moved out of the downtown area than the police dept.

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