Budget plans for the new police station have increased to reach the requirements needed for an updated facility.
The initial budget for the new police station was $10.5 million dollars and it was raised to approximately $14 million dollars at the City Hall meeting last week.
“It will be today’s standard state-of-the-art facility compared to what we used to have,” said mayor Jerry Fiala. “It’s going to be quite an improvement.“
The new building will be located on the southeast corner of Haymaker and Depeyster Street.
“We had to honor some leases until the end of August,” said Fiala. “So somewhere after August after the students have moved out…we’ll start demolishing the properties.”
Fiala said they hope to have the land ready for the new building development by November.
He also said the current police station isn’t safe for prisoners or staff.
“The building itself does not meet current fire code, building and zoning regulations, and it’s not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Lt. Michael Lewis of Kent Police
Department. “It’s just become more costly to maintain this building than it would be to create a new building that we could move into.”
Lewis said their police department makes about 2,000 arrests each year and they don’t have the facility to accommodate the prisoners.
“Adults, males, females and juveniles need to be separated by sight, sound and touch,” said Lewis. “That’s very, very difficult by our existing facility. We don’t meet the needs of all of our prisoners.”
Regulations say the cells need to provide natural lighting that the current jail does not provide.
Currently, there are three jail cells that are side by side and one that is separate and used for a prisoner that needs to be removed from the main area. The jail has only one shower in the common jail area that cannot always be utilized when they have men and women in the cells.
“The cells are too small and the square footage isn’t right, and they need to be larger,” said Sgt. Jason Short. “We can’t have bar doors anymore because it’s a suicide risk.”
Lewis said they have had a number of suicide attempts in the jail and there have been deaths in the past from hangings due to the construction of the cells.
Contact Chelsea Graff at [email protected]