City of Casper holds news conference to discuss new Police building
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Wednesday May 11, the City of Casper met in front of the newly purchased Casper Business Center. The new home of the Casper Police Department came with an $8,000,000 price tag but city officials say that this is one of the cheapest options for the new station.
Casper’s Vice Mayor Steve Freel said, “We have looked at multiple locations around the city [existing buildings]. We even looked into new construction itself. We wanted to make sure that we looked at the most economic way of doing this. The best way to save money but still get this done and take care of a problem that has been an issue for decades.”
The Vice Mayor, who himself is a veteran of the Casper Police Force, noted that even after the initial purchase, renovations and inspections this decision will come out to less than half the cost of building a new station from the ground up, which was an option that the city had heavily considered.
The Police Department has also never owned the area that they operate out of. They have rented space on the first floor of the Hall of Justice from the county and the Sheriff’s Office since they first moved in. The CPD outgrew their current space almost ten years ago and they continue to grow each year. Employees have been moved into renovated closets and hallways that are used as office spaces. Most offices are even having to be used by three to four officers or detectives at a time.
“We really want our citizens to understand that their Casper Police Department has tried very hard for a very long time to make the best of the space that we have. We’ve moved out of certain spaces, we’ve renovated, we’ve relocated, but really we are at the point, and we’ve been at the point for several years now, that we need a new space in order to continue the level of police operation that our community has come to expect from us,” Said Rebekah Ladd, Public Information Officer for the CPD.
The Department has had to move some services out of the building that will be brought back in the new business center. This includes the dispatch center which is currently located on the East side of Casper. They will also have more room to store evidence which is a big problem that they currently face. Much of the evidence that is gathered by officers must be kept for an extended period of time and depending on the case may even have to be kept in the station permanently.
Rebekah Ladd stated, “Our Facilities are way too small to accommodate the amount of evidence that we have to store to ensure that cases can go through the legal system. Also according to state statute there’s some evidence that we have to store forever and we have, quite frankly, run out of the room to do that the way that we need to, to make sure that this evidence is taken care of properly.”
The new building will also be a huge upgrade in parking for not only police station employees, but also for citizens who have to visit the department. The Business Center comes with a large parking garage that will house not only some public parking, but also police cars, motorcycles and any other vehicle they may use.
The city is planning to have the police department moved into the Casper Business Center within the next two to three years. They will also be moving the dispatch center and the court system all under the same roof.
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