New Baltimore Police Get New Digs
New station will give police breathing room at no cost to taxpayers.
New Baltimore's 16 sworn police officers and six civilian employees will go from working in cramped, outdated quarters to a spacious new station this summer.
They will move from the current waterfront station, which is less than 1,300 square feet, to the 10,000-square-foot old Citizens Lending Center building on Green.
"This is a necessity," Mayor Larry Smith said.
The force has been operating in substandard conditions inside the Washington Street department for years, Smith said.
During large investigations, such as the high-profile murders of residents Ronald and Christine Jabalee, police officers had to conduct interviews 40 minutes away at the Michigan State Police substation in Richmond because there were no rooms at their own station. At one point in that investigation, a detective was using a bathroom as an office, New Baltimore police Chief Tim Wiley said.
The new station, approved Dec. 13 by the City Council, will cost roughly $800,000. The city has been saving for the project for years, so residents won't see an increase in taxes, Smith said.
The council also approved to have an asbestos inspection at the former bank that will be transformed into a police station. City officials will hire a contractor for the project by selecting one out of a pool of low bidders.
"We've planned and prepared for this," Wiley said. "This project is my baby. We are all pretty excited."
The new station, which sits on 1.75 acres, will have locker rooms, showers, offices for administration and detectives, meeting space and a break room. There will be three holding cells. A 4,000-square-foot accessory building will also be on the property.
As for what will happen to the existing waterfront station, city officials say that has not been determined. It's a prime piece of property and could be sold for development. But no decisions have been made.
"We are not rushing into anything," Smith said.