EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Ushering in a new era for the Eugene Police Department (EPD), a celebration was held on Saturday as the department has reached the end of a major project, moving out of Eugene City Hall and into a new location.
Eugene Police opened the doors to its new headquarters on Country Club Road on Saturday, August 18 2012, holding an open house for the public.
The project took two years and about $17 million to complete. $10 million of that was used to buy the building. About $7 million worth of renovation was done to enhance it. According to the city, the total cost was less than half of what it would have been to build a new police department.
Originally, the city had discussed the idea of building a new office for EPD’s patrol services and keeping the department’s core in City Hall. However, once the Country Club Road building went up for sale, City Manager Jon Ruiz says they moved on the idea of a total department move.
“It's absolutely the right way that we can honor and respect our police department for the work that they do on all of our behalves, so thank you for being here,” said Ruiz in a ceremony on Saturday.
While it may be just a building, EPD hopes the facility will have a large, lasting impact on public safety.
One of the biggest differences inside is an expansion of services in the lobby. There are now four front service windows for people to interact with EPD employees compared to just one in the old building.
Just off the lobby is Conference Room 248, a larger public meeting room dedicated in honor of fallen Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen.
The new EPD headquarters has almost twice the number of square feet of the old City Hall workspace and already most of it is full. There is some room for future growth though. EPD is planning for the building to last several decades.
In all, Chief Pete Kerns says the new EPD offices on Country Club Road will allow officers to work with each other more easily in much closer quarters and also get their jobs done more efficiently.
“We recognize that it was an important business decision to do this because we were not going to be able to provide the community with the quality of service they should have and more importantly, in the event of a natural disaster, we wouldn't be there to help in that old facility. Here, it will be world-class service that our community receives,” says Chief Pete Kerns.
One of the most improved areas is where suspects will be taken into custody, questioned and temporarily held. The new EPD has four holding cells including two for adults and two for juveniles. They’ve also added a more functional line-up room for victims to ID suspects.
The building has also received several seismic improvements as well. Squad car parking is outside this time, not under the building like at City Hall.
Outside the new EPD, there’s a lot to admire as well. Six art pieces line the building along with a collection of badges by the flag pole.