HRPD facility study moves to site selection
To be effective, law enforcement agencies must continually evolve, adapting to community needs and new standards for protecting life and property. Local police agencies are a community’s first line of protection, enforcing laws, investigating crimes, regulating traffic or crowds, assisting individuals in crisis and providing a myriad of other public safety measures in what’s seemingly an ever-changing landscape.
As the City of Hood River plans for a police facility that will accommodate its department for the next 40 or more years, a Police Facility Needs Analysis moves into the site selection phase. Potential sites are under evaluation based on industry criteria and ranked with a point system.
Most communities will design and build a new police bureau every 40-50 years. In contrast, the Hood River Police Department has never been housed in a purpose-built facility. Long-range planning is critical to ensure a space with sufficient operational functionality as well as a good fit for the community as it grows or changes in decades to come.
Modern police departments work most competently when adequate space is customized for processing offenders, providing private rooms for victim or suspect interviews, writing reports, processing evidence, cleaning firearms, holding suspects, interfacing with the public, training, plus other miscellaneous functions. The State mandates certain spaces be restricted to specific functions and not accessible to the public (some not even to other police officers). And while security is paramount, another interest is being accessible and welcoming to the public. Modern policing facilities are also built to maintain operations during disasters, which requires high seismic standards and back-up power sources.
It’s easier to imagine how Hood River may evolve in 10 years, but what about 20 years or 40 years into the future? It may help to remember changes in Hood River since 1980, when the population was 4,300, and the economy was mainly supported by timber and agriculture. What will Hood River be like in 2040, when population is projected at over 13,000 and five more sworn personnel plus support staff would be needed to manage increased activity? As we’ve seen more recently, the local tourism economy can occasionally triple the number of people in Hood River on peak visitation days.
The fact is, Hood River’s current need for a new facility is not only about keeping up with the times, it’s about replacing a seriously deficient headquarters. The police department is housed in the roughly 4,700 sq. ft. daylight basement of the 99-year-old masonry City Hall building, without appropriate space, functionality or safety features for today’s policing. It was intended as a temporary home for the agency, lacking seismic resilience, holding cells, private interview rooms, locker rooms, ventilated storage, covered and secured parking and has many inadequacies based criteria outlined by the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police (IACP). No doubt, as the community grows, shortfalls will become more apparent.
The sites under consideration for a new police facility are a combination of city-owned and privately-owned properties that would accommodate needed spaces and parking in a program recommended by specialist architectural firm Mackenzie and vetted by an ad hoc committee. The committee, which includes two council members, toured numerous police facilities to gain knowledge of modern police department characteristics and requirements in a program validation exercise customized to Hood River. The group reduced the original space concept recommendation put forth by Makenzie by close to 3,000 square feet, bringing the total needed space to 13,178 sq. ft. This would add functional space for separate suspect and victim interview rooms, ventilated evidence processing and additional storage, a larger meeting room for staff, training and community use, a sally port, lockers, and quiet room, in addition to a booking area, report writing area, holding cells, records, and offices. Once all prospective sites are ranked, the two strongest site alternatives will be identified and reviewed by Council later this fall.
The Police Facility Needs Analysis initiated in early 2019 consists of six main elements. The programming workshop, facilities tours and site selection will be followed by design refinement, cost estimates and a final report. The future of a new home for HRPD will likely be up to the community if the City refers a bond levy to voters in November 2020.
Please consider signing up HERE to receive quarterly Emails of future editions of Hood River City Connect.
Si le gusta lo que acaba de leer, considere inscribirse AQUI para recibir correos electrónicos trimestrales de futuras ediciones de Hood River City Connect.