HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WPTA21) — Contractors will soon submit bids to build a new police headquarters in Huntington.
“We have been in this building since the early 1900s. We have just absolutely outgrown this space,” Chief Chad Hacker says.
Hacker says when Huntington’s city building went up, the police department had seven officers.
“We have evidence storage now that’s currently being held at the water department,” he says.
The combined detective bureau for the city, county and state police is even in another building.
And two years ago, when the only available space to put in a drug testing station for heroin or fentanyl was smack in the middle of the department where officers do their daily work, it became a safety issue because of the risk of dangerous drug exposure.
“We had to create policy where we have Narcan readily available. Have to have two officers present when they do the testing. And this is also the same area where they’re typing their reports, they’re packaging their evidence,” Hacker says.
City leaders agreed it was time and approved a $4.8 million new building across the street, just south of the library.
The city has $2.2 million to pay up front, and Local Option Income Tax money already approved for public safety will pay the rest over the next 20 years.
The two-story, 17,000 square foot building will house all of the police department as well as the combined detective bureau.
“I believe if they need the space and they have the recruits, I think they do deserve a new building. If they keep the safety on our streets, I think they need the space,” resident Camden Welch-Mitchel says.
“Well I was thinking maybe they could have used the Herald-Press building over there. They’re trying to sell that. That’s just my opinion, though,” resident Tom Pressler adds.
Vacant space nearby was determined to be too expensive or too large for the department’s needs.
Construction could begin as early as this spring and is expected to be complete 12 months later.