Archive for Thursday, October 14, 2010

Police show off new work space

A forensic lab is among the new additions for the Bonner Springs Police Department, which showed off its new offices to City Council members on Tuesday.

A forensic lab is among the new additions for the Bonner Springs Police Department, which showed off its new offices to City Council members on Tuesday.

October 14, 2010

Five pounds of sand in a two-pound bag.

That’s how Police Chief John Haley described the cramped operations of the Bonner Springs Police Department before it acquired new space in a building across the street.

Before their regular meeting Tuesday, Bonner Springs City Council members got a first-hand look at the department’s new space in the former Atmos Energy building, 130 N. Nettleton, and the renovated space in the building that formerly contained the entire department at 120 N. Nettleton. Council members were impressed at how the new space improved the function and efficiency of the department, and how city employees were able to do much of the renovations themselves.

Renovations of the buildings began in May. Bids on the renovation came back at $75,000 or more — $20,000 higher than budgeted — so city employees took on much of the work.

Haley said all of the renovations in the building at 120 N. Nettleton were completed by the officers and funded with federal sharing money the department received after an officer was involved on an area task force. The $35,000 covered new carpet, surveillance equipment and furniture, with some funds still remaining.

The council first toured the department’s former main building, now the home of the investigations division. Haley explained how the former offices for superiors were turned into interrogations rooms. What was once a records area is now a conference room.

“I like this, too,” Lt. Rick Schubert said, pointing to one room. “This is a storage room, which is something we never had before.”

The Council also saw the new surveillance equipment, which records both video and audio in the interrogation rooms and allows officers to observe interrogations from a separate room.

Haley’s former office was turned into an evidence room that allows the department to process fingerprints and other evidence. Previously, the department had to send evidence to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

“This is actually a pretty nice forensics lab,” Schubert said. “We’ve been having some really good luck doing some of our own processing because of the extensive delays at the KBI.”

He said the turnaround now was much faster; evidence processing could take up to 90 days in the past.

“That’s pretty impressive, that with just a couple of machines and some training, you can make a huge impact,” Council member Jeff Harrington said.

In the new main building, Haley explained how the municipal court clerk, records clerk, and dispatch area had much more space. The community area known as the “blue room” had been remodeled to make a small kitchen and break room and a larger officer training room.

Downstairs, the department now has a secure garage to hold larger pieces of evidence and a large, spread-out space with officer workstations, locker rooms, a briefing room, and a breathalyzer area for those brought in for DUIs.

“This is 180 degrees from what we had before, and all the feedback I’m getting from the officers is they really enjoy having this workspace,” Haley said. “We’re happy with it; I just want a good place for my officers to do the job that they have to do, and certainly here, they have it.”

The Council members all seemed to agree the space was a great benefit for the department.

“I don’t see how you made it over there as long as you did,” Lloyd Mesmer commented as the tour finished up.

Council members George Cooper and Rodger Shannon were not present at the meeting.

In a workshop before the regular meeting, the Council reviewed the city’s benefit district policy. The policy is the last formal policy the city has created to specifically address economic development tools.

In its regular meeting, the Council:

• Heard Mayor Clausie Smith read a proclamation for Kansas Business Women’s Week.

• Approved claims for city operations totaling $242,970.

• Approved public housing authority claims totaling $33,853.

• Approved reappointments of Lisa Krone, William Miller and Officer French to three-year terms on the Drug & Alcohol Advisory Committee.

• Approved a bond authority for the Front Street Sewer Rehabilitation project.

• Approved a resolution of intent extension for DK Fleet Sales Industrial Revenue Bonds.

• Held a public hearing and approved the Public Housing Authority Annual Plan.

• Approved, 5-1, a change order, acceptance and final payment for the fire/EMS facility. Council member Wayne Gray voted in opposition.

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