Crime

New Pasco police station could be ready to open in September (with video)

Tour of the Pasco Police Community Services Building

Police Chief Bob Metzger leads a tour of the departments building that is currently under construction. The $8 million project means bigger and better space for the department as well as a new space for the community with meeting rooms and "onlin
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Police Chief Bob Metzger leads a tour of the departments building that is currently under construction. The $8 million project means bigger and better space for the department as well as a new space for the community with meeting rooms and "onlin

You’ve negotiated a sweet deal on Craigslist for a jogging stroller but you hesitate going to the seller’s home, especially with your little one in tow.

In a few months, you can arrange to meet outside of the Pasco Police Community Services Building.

One handy feature of the new building will be designated “online purchases” parking spots that should allow buyers or sellers to feel comfortable, knowing the exchange is being captured on security cameras and help is just a short walk away.

Police Chief Bob Metzger said they had the community’s needs in mind when the designer, architect and city officials drew up a station that will more than triple the size of the department’s current space.

Part of what we tried to do is not make it so imposing, so that people don’t want to come in. We’re trying to make it inviting.

Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger

The $8 million project — paid for by the 2011 public safety sales tax approved by Franklin County voters — isn’t just about bigger digs for police staff and sworn officers.

That’s why Metzger felt it key for the new building’s multipurpose use to be reflected in the name.

“Part of what we tried to do is not make it so imposing, so that people don’t want to come in. We’re trying to make it inviting,” he said. “It’s really designed to service the community for many, many years into the future.”

The building sits on 7.7 acres that used to be grassy ballfields just east of the City Hall parking lot, between Nixon and Sylvester streets.

When the special building permit was approved in early 2015, a city staff report said the station would retain City Hall’s 525 N. Third Ave. address. The public access to police headquarters will be from Sylvester.

The Police Community Services Building has been designed to grow with the city of Pasco.

Certain areas of the building can go 50 years, while others will need updating in 20 years, Metzger explained during a recent tour of the construction site.

The overall 38,000-square-foot structure was built so a number of the exterior walls can be pushed out and the second floor extended if needed in the future, he said.

The project is being handled by Total Site Services of Richland.

It will have an industrial look with precast concrete panels and Corten metal panels interspersed on the front, and oversized concrete blocks making up both ends of the building.

Inside, the building will have open ceilings, polished cement floors, LED lighting and zone heating, all done to keep costs down and be energy efficient, Metzger said. Wainscoting will be placed on the walls about 4 feet up from the floor to prevent scrapes from officers’ guns and other gear on their belts.

The building currently only has a 3,100-square-foot second floor, mainly for long-term and overflow secured evidence storage. That is adjacent to a large garage where stolen and impounded vehicles can be stored.

The evidence technician’s office will be on the ground level, next to the main evidence room with separate areas for drop-off by officers and the drying and processing of items. There also is a separate secured room to store high-security weapons and explosives, the chief said.

Once the building is complete, both evidence rooms will be permanently closed off to everyone but the technician. Metzger said if a detective or even the chief wants to look at an item in evidence, the technician will bring it into a different room and stay with that person at all times.

The facility also has two separate basements, one for records storage and the other to include a state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled room for the relocation of Pasco’s Information Technology services.

Metzger said all employees had input in the design for their particular department.

“We really tried to get everybody involved in it to fit the needs of what is there,” he said.

A person who is being chased by a violent ex or a stranger in a road rage incident can drive to the police department, run inside the front doors and — if it is after hours — hit an emergency button that will lock the exterior doors and immediately notify 911 dispatchers.

For example, an electronic dumbwaiter has been installed in the records area so clerks won’t have to carry heavy files or boxes up a level from the basement.

The patrol, investigations and street crimes units have been divided up in different areas of the building to accommodate flow of business. Every sergeant and captain will have an individual office.

Even the department’s two canines, Lemon and Hapo, will have their own kennels and an outdoor space to run around.

A large squad room has a movable wall so it can be split in two and used for meetings or as an emergency operations center.

A bathroom next to two high-security interview rooms has a knob outside the door so detectives can turn off the water to prevent a suspect from flushing any potential evidence.

Right off the lobby is a community room that will seat about 120 people. It too can be split in half with a movable wall.

And in a final security feature that Metzger acknowledges getting from the Walla Walla Police Department, the lobby will have a connected vestibule that will lock in a person who may feel their life is in danger.

A person who is being chased by a violent ex or a stranger in a road rage incident can drive to the police department, run inside the front doors and — if it is after hours — hit an emergency button that will lock the exterior doors and immediately notify 911 dispatchers.

Metzger said that person will be locked inside between two sets of doors, but they will be safe from the assailant until officers arrive.

“It’s a feature to give another sense of security,” he said. “If we only need it once, that’s fine.”

There have been some delays in construction, but Metzger said they hope to be moved in, fully functional and open to the public by September.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531, @KristinMKraemer

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