by Marianne Morf
Like everything else, law enforcement has changed. And now, 46 years after the Clear Lake Police Department moved from a tiny, cottage-like building near City Beach to a brand new municipal building, it’s time to start thinking
about expanding again.
Actually, it’s past time.
The department currently occupies 2,100 square feet of City Hall. And while that is more than double space of the previous station, today’s procedures, equipment and staffing levels require considerably more space.
Today, the department is literally filled to the brim. Even with the ability to now spill into areas formerly occupied fire department, it still finds itself without enough room to operate efficiently and safely, says Chief Greg Peterson.
Peterson and others have been working with Bergland + Cram Architects to redesign the department’s existing space and utilize the fire department’s equipment bays. It will probably be a couple of years before actual reconstruction can take place, but when the money is budgeted, the project will be ready to go, says the chief.
“It’s very hard to retrofit this old building. It wasn’t built for Cat 5 cable, cameras and computer servers, but we do the best we can,” said Peterson. As the city continues to bank roll money for the estimated $1.3 to $1.4 million the remodeling of the entire City Hall will cost, the police department is already purchasing immediate needs, such as a new generator and radio system. Those items will be utilized in the new police space within City Hall.
“When the power goes out, we have to go out and start our generator by hand. We need a system that keeps our radio and computers up all the time,” said the chief.
In addition to mechanical improvements, the technology used by law enforcement also demands space. And that’s something Clear Lake’s current station simply doesn’t have.
The hub of the department, its communications room and dispatch center, is a crammed 10x10-foot space. At one time the dispatcher sat with a radio on her desk and could easily receive calls, share messages with officers and greet the public. Now, those entering the department wait in a tiny two by three-foot space and look through a small window to see the back of a massive piece of radio equipment. The dispatcher is barely visible behind the consoles.
“This is a problem area,” said Peterson, noting the 24-year-old radio system is being replaced this year with technology needed to meet today’s standards.
Just outside the dispatch area is a combination lounge/workspace. As the one place in the department where more than four or five people can - Read more Via e-Edition