A project Avondale Police Chief Dale Nannenga called long overdue is finally coming to fruition, as space in their building is struggling to withstand the resources they need to be fully functional.
Recently, Avondale City Council voted in favor of expanding the police department building, and since then much progress has been made.
“This (expansion) has been planned for a number of years, and finally we have reached a point where we are able to secure the funding to expand the police property and evidence room for the city,” Nannenga said.
“The one goal was always to expand, but as time went on we’re actually looking at expanding more for other office areas as well.”
Police occupy around 3,000 to 4,000 square feet, but the new building will be around 12,000 square feet, according to Nannenga.
City Council included the cost for this expansion in the 2020 fiscal year budget earlier this year, and Nannenga said recent progress would not have been made without the support of city officials.
“The city manager and the City Council (have) made a commitment to get us this space, which has been needed for so long,” Nannenga said.
The major push for this expansion is due to the lack of space in evidence rooms. Additionally, many people don’t realize how long evidence, by law, needs to be stored, according to Nannenga.
“There are many items that we are required to keep at least 99 years while the case is being done, even after conviction,” Nannenga said.
“There’s also many cases that we’re required to retain that evidence even if there is no suspect known.
Certain types of crimes like homicide and certain sex crimes were required to retain that evidence almost indefinitely.
“We have more officers than we’ve had 15 years ago, so just natural mathematics show that we’re storing more items and having to store more items longer than we’ve ever had to before. We’re reaching the point where the current storage area is not sufficient anymore.”
Also, the evidence room will be repurposed. This is especially exciting for Nannenga.
“It gives us the opportunity to have things we have never had before — an expanded briefing area; we’re able to expand other work areas in the department,” Nannenga said.
“Now everywhere is pretty much full. We hardly have any empty cubicles in our building, so almost the entire building will be redesigned and give us that ability to plan.”
City Council has yet to vote on selecting a construction manager at risk.
Construction will begin in January, while the building is expected to be up and running by fall 2020.