Franklin County Sheriff's Office settles into new space

Tyler Richardson, Tri-City HeraldApril 24, 2014 

Franklin County Sheriff's Office Tour

Franklin County Sheriff Richard Lathim shows the lockers in the evidence room on Thursday during a tour of the new Franklin County Sheriff's Office at 1016 N. Fourth Ave. in Pasco.

SARAH GORDON — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Sheriff Richard Lathim proudly swung open the door to a spacious training room Thursday on a tour of his department's new offices.

Lights flipped on to reveal rows of tables and a large podium in the center of the room with a Franklin County Sheriff's Office emblem.

"We got to use this room for the first time last night for our (awards banquet)," he said. "It was nice to be on our own site and do it here."

The estimated 10,000-square-foot building has been open for three weeks and is part of a $19.5 million project that expanded and renovated the Franklin County Jail and added a new Pasco Municipal Court.

It's being paid for by a 30-year, 0.3 percent public safety sales tax approved by city and county voters in 2011.

The sheriff's office takes up the second floor and gives officials the space they have dreamed of for years.

One of the biggest additions is a new audio and video recording system in the interview rooms. The sheriff's office has never had a system like this and it will be used for serious cases, he said.

Down a long hallway, Lathim showed off the evidence, records and firearm rooms. There is even a large space for a workout area that should be filled with equipment soon.

Upgraded equipment -- like refrigerators for storing evidence and a computer system near the records room -- will help deputies keep the sheriff's office a state-accredited law enforcement agency, he said.

In particular, the interview, records and training rooms will "make us more efficient and secure in what we are doing," he said.

There also is an extra 2,000 square feet at the back of the building for future additions, Lathim said.

Deputies and detectives are just starting to get settled and Lathim expects the rest of the construction to be done in the next month.

Lathim said his employees have been waiting for the new building for years, and will take advantage of all it has to offer.

"We haven't had any complaints yet," he said.

-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; trichardson@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @Ty_richardson

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