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Archive for Saturday, April 28, 2012

Report: $30M police facility needed

April 28, 2012

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The Lawrence Police Department has a space problem — everything from lockers to interview rooms — and now a new City Hall report estimates the fix will be about $30 million.

“So often, the things we need to do our job are just not readily accessible,” said Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib.

City commissioners at a Tuesday afternoon study session will receive a report from a city-hired consulting group that spells out the space needs of the Police Department for the next 20 years. The report recommends a new 40,000 to 50,000 square foot police headquarters building with a price tag of about $28 million to $29 million. The report doesn’t yet recommend a site for the facility, nor does it spell out a funding plan for the project.

That will be up to city commissioners as they embark on the 2013 budget process.

“We don’t have this money in any budget,” said City Commissioner Mike Dever. “I don’t think we have any easy way to pay for it.”

Commissioners may not have to fully figure out how to pay for the project during this upcoming budget process. City Commissioner Hugh Carter, who pushed for the facilities study, said he simply wants the city to come up with a multiple year, “definitive” plan for when the facility can be built.

“I understand it is a huge project,” Carter said. “The plan may be two, three, four years out for us to break ground, but I can’t see us stretching it farther than that. We’re talking about a core, public safety service here. We have to address this.”

The report, conducted jointly by Wilson Estes Police Architects and Lawrence-based Treanor Architects, found the Police Department’s forensic areas were “grossly undersized,” areas to prepare for special operations were unavailable, interview rooms often weren’t adequately private, and office conditions were extremely cramped.

“When you walk into the Police Department’s actual working environment, there is a disconnect between the level of professionalism they are providing and expected to provide versus the conditions they’re working in,” Carter said.

In addition to just a general expansion of workspace, the report recommends a new facility include several features:

• Three times the amount of forensics and crime laboratory space to do DNA analysis, photo processing, computer forensics, and evidence review.

• A basement-level parking garage large enough to store the department’s vehicle fleet. Khatib said covered parking can be important to protect patrol vehicles and the approximately $25,000 worth of equipment in each car from constant exposure to weather conditions.

• A doubling of support spaces such as locker rooms, staff fitness areas, lobby space and multipurpose training areas.

• A tactical training range that will allow for firing of live weapons and allow for the ability to “introduce smoke and sound, as well as set up vehicles and props” to simulate real world scenarios for training purposes.

Currently the department’s 181 employees are split between the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center at 11th and Massachusetts streets and the Investigations and Training Center near Bob Billings Parkway and Wakarusa Drive. But the department stores equipment and evidence in three other city buildings spread across town.

Commissioners said they’ll want to hear how improvements in Police Department facilities will improve the service officers provide in the community.

“That’s how we’re really going to be able to measure the costs versus the benefits of this,” Dever said.

Khatib said he’s confident a new facility would greatly improve the efficiency of staff members, but he also said the community will need to consider increasing the size of the police force in the near term.

“What I don’t want to have lost in all this is that we still have significant staffing issues we need to address,” Khatib said.

City commissioners will receive the report at a 4 p.m. study session on Tuesday at City Hall.

Comments

Soapbox 2 years, 8 months ago

"Lawrence-based Treanor Architects, found the Police Department’s forensic areas were “grossly undersized,”" Of course an Architect firm found them undersized....they need new contracts....when are tax payers going to wake up? Call the city, the mayor, the police cpt. and W.R. at Treanor Architects and tell them not with "my money" Spending spree when everyone else tightens their belt......sound familiar?

GUMnNUTS 2 years, 8 months ago

Does this price tag include a soft serve ice cream dispenser?

Keith 2 years, 8 months ago

They could expand into the old church the county is vacating, it's within walking distance. That firing range they want to add sounds like it would be better suited for the army or national guard. As I said before, hire an architecture firm to do your study and you will get a recommendation of more buildings.

Bladerunner 2 years, 8 months ago

"That firing range they want to add sounds like it would be better suited for the army or national guard." State law dictates that officers must qualify with their weapons at least twice a year. You will most likely be the first person whining when an under-trained officer makes a poor shooting decision.

Keith 2 years, 8 months ago

You were gaining ground there until your last sentence. Could you explain the need for "A tactical training range that will allow for firing of live weapons and allow for the ability to “introduce smoke and sound, as well as set up vehicles and props” to simulate real world scenarios for training purposes." Is there likely to be major civil insurrection that the local PD would be called on to suppress? I believe they already are able to qualify with their weapons at the FOP range.

BruceWayne 2 years, 8 months ago

And again the city paid money for a consultant to tell them how to spend money? This town needs an enema.

commonsenselawrence 2 years, 8 months ago

Why not look at the Riverfront Mall. It's a large facility, underground parking, easy citizen access, and already has the utilities. A mere knocking down some walls and reconfiguring space for half the costs .

2 years, 8 months ago

agreed, riverfront mall, once springhill suites closes up and then knology finishes downsizing and selling off to an equity firm, the mall will be wide open for more public uses...

beerbaron03 2 years, 8 months ago

Could they just sell some basketball tickets to raise the cash?

brewmaster 2 years, 8 months ago

Ouch, that was a straight-on punch to the solar plexus.

cowboy 2 years, 8 months ago

We would like Disneyland....Come on folks this proposal is ridiculous. LPD should toss off the Olin influences and join the real world. Start sending new officers to the state academy , why do we run our own ? This basement idea is bs. We now want our own DNA lab . Realize your primary job and do it well , we cannot fund a mini FBI here.

John Spencer 2 years, 8 months ago

Why can't they expand the current facility?

irvan moore 2 years, 8 months ago

we need to remember that a joint venture with the city and county would save the taxpayers a boatload of money and robably better serve us

grammarrodeo 2 years, 8 months ago

If you mean a county police department, then I agree. There's no reason to duplicate services, administration and facilities. But why stop at the cops?

skinny 2 years, 8 months ago

I agree too, a consolidated Law Enforcement Center named the Douglas County Police Dept. I bet it’d save the tax payers a boatload of money too! 30 million is way too much money for a building.

I also agree there is no need to train our own Officers when the University of Kansas will train them for free at Hutchinson!

BlackVelvet 2 years, 8 months ago

I think they want more advanced, and specific training for their officers than what's available at the KLETC. Remember, at Hutch, they have to train to the common denominator, which in the case of some rural Sheriff's departments, may be an 8th grade education.

jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

Sad lot of individuals on this string.

Jock Navels 2 years, 8 months ago

168 hours in a week equals 4.2 full time employees to have 1 cop on duty at all times. how many cops does lawrence need? 30 million is a lot of fear...what are people afraid of? 40,00 to 50,000 square feet is a football field big. get serious. 25 grand worth of equipment in a squad car is ridiculous. there are a lot of really good suggestions in all the previous posts. one big one is to not use an architect firm to decide whether or not, and how big, something should be built.

Steve Bradt 2 years, 8 months ago

How about expanding across the street to the site of the eyesore Allen Press building and warehouse? Is anything going on there these days besides slow decay?

JackMcKee 2 years, 8 months ago

$30 million here, $20 million there, $18 million over here, where does Lawrence get the money for these outrageous projects? Oh yea, my propert taxes, which have doubled in the 10 years I've lived in my house.

JackMcKee 2 years, 8 months ago

Hey police, I'll trade you an $18 million parking garage and $25 million empty bus system for a new shiny police headquarters. Deal?

rousseau108 2 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, because I'm sure the Police are the ones that want a parking garage and a useless bus system. I bet the police also want the new library. It's funny that a core city service like police can't have adequate facilities and equipment b/c the city is always using all the money for a library, horribly inefficient bus system, and now probably a rec center.

Missingit 2 years, 8 months ago

I've been looking around and I see a several recently built fire stations. A tax for new fire equipment,a new transient congration compound, err library. All of these things have been approved. Heck I have read several articles about some county residents complaining about a range in the county, those guys should pay for a range. I hope both the LKPD and the SO get a new building that way the judges and DA can't ask for a new one too since they will get new space by the other agencies moving out. When was the current law enforcement center built and how many people was it supposed to hold?

JackMcKee 2 years, 8 months ago

Betcha the usual suspects are out in force campaigning for this one. We'll probably even get to see some more questionable campaign tactics. The tax and spend (and leach off the public's tax dollars) crowd in Lawrence can execute this play to perfection. Of course the last time I pointed out the names of some of the usual suspects the post was promptly deleted. Some people don't want you to know what they're up to in Lawrence.

Kyle Chandler 2 years, 8 months ago

For the so called 'equipment' in the police cars Laptop PC with internet (already have) Radio (already have) Guns (already have, but need more bullets right?) Misc. Weapons (batons, riot gear, shotguns...already have) Breath-analyzer (already have) Hmmm

maybe that extra 25k is going towards micro camera systems mounted on the officer and in his/her vehicles to document all of theyre 'ethical' behaviors???

i'll sign off on 1k

Bigdog66046 2 years, 8 months ago

I think what the article was saying is because the vehicles have $25,000 worth of euipment that is why the need enclosed parking. Which isnt a bad idea, remeber anytime a city vehicle is damaged (hail or whatever) our tax dollars are used to fix. So i dont think any equipment for the partol vehicles is included in the $30 million price tag

Steve Jacob 2 years, 8 months ago

And what will the fireman want after the police get this?

pizzapete 2 years, 8 months ago

Move the police station to the Riverfront Mall and let Compton and Treanor put up a 10 story apartment building at the old location. And lets pave over South Park so Treanor and Compton have some place to park their Hummers.

dragonfly0221 2 years, 8 months ago

kylechandler..... our officers have to buy their own weapons and practice amo here in Lawrence. City doesn't pay for that.

George_Braziller 2 years, 8 months ago

Which could be claimed as a required work-related expense when filing income taxes.

James Minor 2 years, 8 months ago

Hold your horses Commisioners!!! The riverfront mall is a great idea. There is more space with the upper and lower levels. It is next to City Hall and the smell of river in the background. There is additional building space for Treanor to recommend for expansion and the police station would be close by to chase off the homeless that camps across the river. If the Police Chief will change his glorious idea of the super police station maybe the taxpayers will be agreeable to the Riverfront Mall and a Dunkin Doughnuts for $10M.

Keith 2 years, 8 months ago

And they can use Abe and Jake's for their tactical shooting ground. Plenty of obstacles in there.

50YearResident 2 years, 8 months ago

You suckers approved a $18 Million Library that will be obsolete in 5 years. Katib figured you would surly approve $30 Million for his department. If not, he will settle for 25 million which is what he realy needs anyway. Start higher than needed to get the amount you want.

JackMcKee 2 years, 8 months ago

5 years? You're being way too generous. It was obsolete 2 years ago.

Bigdog66046 2 years, 8 months ago

I do think that a new police station is needed in the near future. To bad when the building on 15th that chief O purchased as a patrol station changed into a administration and training center once we spent tax dollars on it. Will that building be sold if they build a new place? how much is that worth? I think the shooting range sounds a little much. It would be interesting to see how much of the $30 million goes to just that part, and if it could be scaled down. So i would vote yes for a new station as long as it was all reasonable and not crazy. Riverfront mall sounds like a good start to look at. But they will probably buy comptons land by the firestation and then give him the contract to build!

jaywalker 2 years, 8 months ago

Most vital public servants there are. Without the force the majority of the people on this string would be dead or subjugated. And I'm bettin' most of ya'll actually are smart enough to realize that. And yet.............

JayhawksandHerd 2 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps. As others have pointed out, though, it would be much cheaper to retrofit existing infrastructure. The Riverfront Mall seems entirely plausible.

DillonBarnes 2 years, 8 months ago

I can understand the need for a new police station, and I understand that will be a cost we have to endure. However, 28-29 million, whoa. There are still so many unknowns, that seems like a number someone just pulled out of their (greedy wallet).

Not sure how feasible it is, but if they allowed the public to come shoot at the range they could supplement some of the upkeep cost. There are plenty of people are here who would like a real handgun range close.

Jeremiah Jefferson 2 years, 8 months ago

you could probably get 3 or 4 mobile traiers for less than 30k... Thats what the schools have to do when they run out of room..

James Minor 2 years, 8 months ago

DNA testing lab is outrageous!!! DNA test results from the KBI and FBI are and always will be considered the most conclusive. A conflict of interest would occur in every case where Douglas County reports the results of a crime in the same county. How many times has their been reports of misconduct in a police department because detectives want to show they can solve cases. We should expect the results of tainted evidence from any organization that uses their own lab to justify their investigation. So throw the DNA lab in the KAW!!! Sounds like the LPD watches too much Miami CSI. What's next Hummers for all the detectives and forensics? How about we hire lead detectives that make obvious judgements on a crime ---- "Well it looks like someone was shot with a gun and maybe dead -- Duh???"

Food_for_Thought 2 years, 8 months ago

It was on another LJW article about this cost, but a link was posted that showed the architect firms' outlined and detailed proposal/evaluation. $30 Million is the "soft cost". This means that $30 Million will be the price of a "turn-key" building - fully-furnished, with tables, desks, chairs, computers, exercise equipment, evidence-processing equipment, other various electronics, etc., etc. You're mistaken in thinking that LPD is asking for $30 Million to buy some land and an empty building.

JackMcKee 2 years, 8 months ago

Lawrence gives awards to people for their effective fleecing of the taxpayer through misleading information. In other places this is called theft and fraud, but let's not mince words. The $30 million police facility is probably in anticipation of the coming revolt.

James Minor 2 years, 8 months ago

Redevoloping the Riverfront Mall is an option that should be investigated. It is next to City Hall, has more than one level, suitable parking, opportunity for expansion, and can house both the LPD and Sheriffs departments.
To reduce energy costs, when the river is low and Bowersock Dam has trouble producing enough power, the Chief of Police and Sheriff can order all the overweight cops to ride power generating bicycles to meet the energy demand. That's about 80% of the departments combined creating renewable energy!!!!!!

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