Thursday, October 06, 2005

Now and the Future

Article Launched: 08/16/2005 07:12:24 AM

Now and the Future
New Police Headquarters Beneficial in Many Ways

Moving into a new home is an exciting time. Despite the fatigue of the effort - finding the right location, figuring affordable financing, choosing a contractor, and putting together the many other pieces needed to building a new home - it all seems worth it once the boxes are unpacked and things settle down a bit.

That is the way it must feel for the Vacaville Police Department - tired from the effort, but with a sense of joy for being in a new facility.

And it is a grand new home at the corner of Merchant Street and Lovers Lane, not so much because of the $12 million price tag as in what the 39,000-square-foot building will do for a growing Police Department of a growing city.

• Before, the Police Department was shoehorned into tight quarters in the City Hall complex. The new bright and airy building gives the department a bit of room to grow.

• The new building allows the department to consolidate nearly all of its functions under one roof, making things more efficient. Until now, the department's offices were spread around various portable buildings and offices throughout the city.

• The new building lets the department centralize its records, some of which had been housed miles away.

• Security and safety have been improved, too. A sally port and gated parking lot should dissuade suspects from trying to escape custody, thus lessening the chances of injury to officers and suspects alike.

• A "contemporary" and "professional" dispatch center replaces one described as "dark and dank," easing at least one of the pressures of the stress-filled job of police and fire department dispatchers.

Frankly, it is not surprising some might think that this day would never come.

After all, there were early concerns about the location of the building and its cost, construction coming as it did just as the financial picture for the state - which Vacaville had hoped to tap to pay for this project - was turning bleak.

Ultimately, the location, near other city offices, made sense. So did the argument that police structures require added, albeit costly, measures for security, technology and equipment, as well as structural enhancements to withstand natural disasters, such as earthquakes. Combined with the pressures to move ahead because of overcrowded quarters and the fact that toxic mold had been found in the old building, the city trimmed here and there and found the financing it needed.

It was the right move, for now and the future.

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