Police Department Getting New Home Of Its Own

by SC Publisher Shannen Hayes
SC video and photos by Assoc. Publisher Chuck Larsen

The Sanibel Police Department will be getting a new home of its own on Dunlop Road, where the recycling center is currently located. Council gave the green light this week for city staff to move forward with design services.

In a workshop in October, council was presented with three options for the police department:
New construction on site adjacent to City Hall (current parking area)
New construction on Dunlop Road (current recycling center shown in the video below)
Expansion of the existing police department offices at City Hall

Council unanimously approved the second option on Tuesday, which proposes a 10,000 square-feet, two-story building with 10 parking spaces underneath the structure. It includes two ingress and egress points with one for secured police parking and the other for public parking.

The current police department space at City Hall was determined to be used beyond its original capacity. There is no space for a training room or proper locker room facilities. There is a temporary trailer in the parking lot for police aids handling parking and traffic.

When the department was formed in 1974, it was a daytime-only department with a few male officers. Today, it is an around-the-clock operation with 33 officers and 30 civilian employees. And the number of female officers has increased throughout the years. A second trailer in the parking lot is used as their locker room.

Council previously approved $427,155 for the modernization project with $403,825 remaining for design services. Those remaining funds will not be sufficient to complete the building and site designs. Finance Director Steve Chaipel estimated the total design cost to be 10 to 12 percent of the construction cost.

He said in the current economic environment with interest rates at favorable amounts, debt financing of the project would be recommended even though there are costs associated with debt issuance. “We will be working with our financial adviser to determine the best vehicle, but it will probably be a bank loan,” Chaipel told council. He expects to have a debt resolution for council in February.

The police department will continue to operate from its existing space at City Hall until its new home is ready.

Comments (1)

  1. Virginia Robinson

    I hope the new building, unlike most new building on Sanibel, of all places, will be using solar or other environment-friendly energy.

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