the new Detroit Lakes police station built for growth; space and new systems highlight forward-looking department, police chief says
The new $ 6.7 million, 21,000 square foot building, across from the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center on Holmes Street, is a building that the current police department can expand into for years to come, according to Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steven Todd. .
“If you build it for that future growth and project that future growth, they’ll never have to dig another base,” Todd said.
The reception area features old photographs, donated by the Becker County Museum, of family members of former officers and their own archival photos, and provides an overview of police history in Detroit Lakes.
Right next to the reception is the Community Hall, which can be reserved for free by local groups to hold meetings in a space designed to accommodate up to 35 people, or be used as an operations center, in case of need. emergency, weather or otherwise, is happening, Todd said.
The old police station had only two “counter” computers for officers to write up reports of the day’s incidents, but in the new facility there are eight computer terminals. Additionally, Todd said, the size of the enclosure could double to 16 computers if the police department expands its force capacity in the future.
The reliever pen area of the new Detroit Lakes police station, June 14, 2021 (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
Currently, the Detroit Lakes Police Department has 17 patrol officers and two civilian administrative staff.
The offices next to the computer area are intended for high-ranking police officers and investigators, both of whom have the opportunity to expand their staff as the city and the police force is expected to grow in the years to come. .
“This first (office) is for a future post of deputy chief which does not exist today,” he said. “But, it will have to exist in the future.”
Wainscot panels wrap around the walls of the reliever pen and protect the walls from scuffing agents due to the extra width required for agents to navigate the lanes in their equipment belts. Todd said that once officers put on their belts, their gear can add anywhere from 4 to 6 inches in body width, which officers sometimes forget and scratch the wall.
He also said he had a wall mounted screen in his office where he could watch live or archived interrogations from one of the three interrogation rooms. He added that this video broadcast would allow more officers to watch the interrogations live and help the officers conduct the interrogations by asking questions via text message.
A wall display in the office of Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steven Todd displays an archived video feed of a visit Todd gave reporter Michael Achterling to one of the three interrogation rooms during a visit from the new Detroit Lakes Police Station on June 14, 2021 (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
The interrogation rooms themselves have automatic recording systems with microphones that turn on once an officer uses their key card to enter the room.
One of the three interrogation rooms is ready for use in future interrogations at the new Detroit Lakes police station on June 14, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
“There are two (interrogation rooms),” Todd said. “Across the hall is an exact replica of this room, which helps us if we have more than one person we need to interview, we can place them in the other room and they can be interrogated at the same time. time. “
New locker rooms for men and women officers also offer more space than the old police station. Also, said Todd, he wants to encourage members of his force to exercise for up to one hour, on the hour, during their 12-hour shifts in an effort to disconnect, limit stress and to stay healthy.
He said he would try to get city council to give its police officers gym memberships at the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center so they can stay in good physical condition and promote healthier lifestyles within the community. of the force.
Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steven Todd shows his locker at the new Detroit Lakes Police Station on June 14, 2021 (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
“We really need to start embracing the idea of agent wellness that we want to give our agents a chance to be in good physical shape,” Todd said. “They work 12 hour shifts, and if you have small kids at home… it’s a little difficult for you to get back in the car and get to the fitness center after a long day like this. “
He said he wanted to create a program within the police department to tackle the two conditions that cause officers the most health problems: heart disease and back problems.
“Both of these things can be alleviated with cardiovascular exercise,” Todd said. “So I would like the city to start paying for DLCCC memberships. It’s a city owned building… and I would go one step further and say, ‘if you work a 12 hour shift, and we “With a full complement, you can go and train for an hour during your work day, because that is very important.”
Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steven Todd shows the evidence lockers that feed the evidence room, located behind the lockers, at the new Detroit Lakes Police Station on June 14, 2021 (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
The evidence room and armory are covered by 24-hour cameras and key card recorded entries, which will limit entry to designated personnel only. The evidence room also has an additional room with key card entry and key code to access evidence collected from drug and cash seizures, he said.
The underground car park features the police department sign of their old building and can accommodate up to 13 patrol cars at a time. Currently, Todd said, the department only has 11 vehicles, which are never all in the garage at the same time due to agent shifts.
The underground garage is ready to accommodate up to 13 police vehicles at the new Detroit Lakes Police Station on June 14, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
Wireless transmitters on the garage ceiling automatically download data from each patrol car’s dash camera when they enter the garage. Todd said that in the future, the same automatic wireless data transfer could be done with body cameras worn by officers depending on what type of system the police department decides to use once they have. implemented its own procedures.
Additionally, the underground garage has a built-in forensic station, where officers will be able to perform deep search warrants on vehicles suspected of dangerous crimes with potential DNA evidence.
The forensic vehicle garage, designed to collect evidence from vehicles, is set to welcome investigators of future cases at the new Detroit Lakes Police Station on June 14, 2021 (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
Two other features of the new police station are the “containment” hall and secure parking spaces. The exterior doors of the police station will remain unlocked 24 hours a day and the hall can be used by a person in distress after pressing the ‘lock’ button inside the entrance, which will lock the exterior doors and record the incidents. evening interactions. Todd said if anyone was chased near the police station all he would have to do would be walk into the hall, press the button and he would be safe in the lobby until the arrival of the police.
“If, for example, someone went out for a walk and someone threatened or chased them, they could take refuge inside the hallway and push that button,” he said, “and that would lock the outside doors, the camera would record with a movement, and then, theoretically, we would get some sort of alert that something was going on. “
The secure interchange spaces in the northeast corner of the parking lot, which have not yet been marked with parking signs due to the need for another layer of asphalt, will serve as a meeting place for all those who need an extra layer of video protection. in any exchange.
Todd said he envisions people who buy or sell something online that requires in-person delivery will use these spaces due to the 24-hour surveillance capability, which adds another layer of protection when they encounter a stranger. He also said he could see the spaces used for child custody exchanges, if either party felt uncomfortable with the other parent.
The police station was designed by BKV Group, an architectural firm from the Twin Cities, after receiving feedback from Todd and others, on the innovations that other cities made when building their own police stations. police.
The new police station cost $ 6.7 million and is funded by a local option sales tax, which began to be collected in October 2019. The tax was scheduled to run until 2028 to reimburse the new building, but , due to higher than expected sales in the city, the new station should be fully amortized by fall 2023.
A public open house date is still pending, Todd said, as they want to finish grading and sidewalks in the parking lot before inviting the public to see the completed installation. However, he believes the open house will take place in the coming months.
“The fact is not lost on us that our community supported us, our city leaders supported us and our service groups supported us,” Todd said. “We are grateful for it and we are so grateful to be in this building and we want to share it with the community.”