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Officers tour new police station construction site in DeKalb

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 11:22 a.m. CDT
(Kyle Bursaw — kbursaw@shawmedia.com)
T. J. Moore, DeKalb’s director of public works, gestures Monday at what will become the new DeKalb police station’s front entrance from the second floor of the structure during a tour for media and a few police officers. The new station is set to open later in the year.

DeKALB – Police officer Sadie Pristave was pleasantly surprised to learn the city’s new police station would have its own workout facility.

It’s not something DeKalb officers have at the current police station, 200 S. Fourth St.

“On this job, you want to stay healthy and active,” Pristave said. “But it’s hard to take time out of your personal life, especially on this job.”

She was one of two police officers who toured the construction site Monday at 700 W. Lincoln Highway.

Space is limited at the current DeKalb police station. Sometimes officers have to use the same entryway for booking suspects, interviewing potential informants, or interacting with the general public.

“You’re going to have so much space [in the new building], you won’t know what to do with yourself,” Public Works Director T.J. Moore said.

DeKalb police are expected to move into their 36,000-square foot building this year, possibly by Thanksgiving. The new site is as big, if not bigger, than the entire building in which the department currently occupies a few rooms.

Moore said they will have a better idea of the move-in date this spring.

Steve Irving of Irving Construction estimates that 40 percent of the building has been completed. The building is fully enclosed, meaning construction crews can work inside regardless of weather conditions.

Officer Todd Wells, a 15-year veteran of the department, said the new dedicated entrances for the public and for arrestees will ensure better efficiency and safety.

The new station will include a garage in which officers can inspect impounded cars for evidence. Currently, officers travel to a site on the east side of town to do such inspections.

“It will be nice to have it in one place,” Wells said. “It’ll be much more convenient and much more efficient.”

Police dispatchers will be sequestered in their own area within the new station, Moore said. Dispatchers will have their own facilities including a bathroom, break room, and a kitchenette to ensure that they won’t be far away in case of an emergency.

The building will cost no more than $12.7 million. In September, city leaders voted to borrow $12.25 million to pay for the new police station over a period of 19 years and established the cost ceiling. The project is scheduled to finish within budget as of this week, Moore said.

City leaders had discussed a new police station for the better part of a decade and settled on the location on West Lincoln Highway about a year ago.

The new location is within a short distance of Northern Illinois University and where the majority of its students live. It’s also closer to the city’s northwest quadrant – north of Lincoln Highway and west of First Street – where police officials have said officers most often are called.

Moore said the new station should meet the city’s policing needs into the foreseeable future, but he said the building is designed for easy expansion should the need arise.

“We can scale up if things get more exciting,” Moore said.

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