Dallas police get some elbow room

DALLAS -- The Dallas Police are in the process of moving into their new space.

DALLAS -- The Dallas Police are in the process of moving into their new space.

"It's kind of a mess right now," Asst. Police Chief Tom Simpson, said.

"We're still putting things together and reorganizing everything, but it's great to have all this space."

Last year the city purchased the former Itemizer-Observer print shop and began renovating it for new police offices.

The Dallas Police have been operating out of 1,500 square feet. There was practically no desk space or room to do paper work. The three sergeants shared one, cramped desk shoved into a 4-by-5-foot corner.

The new renovation and extension increases their square footage from 1,500 to 4,500.

"At least, we'll have that much space when we're done renovating the old section for the administrators," Assistant City Manager Kim Marr said.

"Until that is done we've crammed everyone into this new area. We've had to be kind of creative about it," he said. "The chief is in what will eventually be a waiting area and the printing and records are in the new conference room."

The renovation is a 10-year stopgap measure until the city can raise funds to build a new police station. The city council eventually will develop a plan for that project.

In November of 2004 Dallas voters denied the city a $3,950,000 bond levy aimed at building a new fire and police station.

So the city has had to do some creative renovations. In addition to purchasing the I-O print shop, it also bought a house on Shelton Street that sits adjacent to the fire station.

The house has been renovated and is used by female firefighters for changing, and for training and meetings.

Both renovations are meant to be temporary. City officials stress that a new fire and police facility will be necessary.

"However, this renovation is meant to be multipurpose," City Manager Roger Jordan said. "We can convert the police expansion to accommodate other city services, like planning or public works, when the new station is built."

The renovation cost Dallas about $400,000. Of that, $300,000 came from the city's "rainy day" general fund and $100,000 came from the Meyers Trust.

Some federal funding helped buy a new generator so the conference room can be used as a disaster command center. The old generator will be set up in the library so it can be used as emergency housing for rescue workers' families.

The police station addition should be completed by the end of May.


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