Safety and security were the top priorities for officials when they designed the new West Liberty police station, chief Shane Oelker said.
The city opened the doors of the new police station to the public for the first time Monday, and police officials expect the station to be fully operational by Tuesday.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Oelker said. “We needed a police facility since I’ve been the chief in 2012. At one point we were in a house and then the house was condemned and we were moved into a small open space in the library. I hope this will give citizens a little bit more sense of security. A place they know they can come to if they need assistance.”
Work to turn the building into a police station began in April and cost about $275,000, Oelker said. The new station at 111 Runkle St. offers officers a safe place to work, he said.
“They can be a little more efficient working out of a facility they know is secure and it’s just built for our operations,” he said.
Recently, West Liberty police have worked out of one room in the West Liberty Library. The new station has workstations for officers, a conference room, an interview room, and a lobby for officers to safely communicate with the public.
“We did not have any of those things,” Oelker said of the space in the library.
The police department also had to use city-owned buildings around town for evidence storage and record keeping. Now everything will be under one roof.
PREVIOUS REPORT: West Liberty police to get new headquarters
“It was secure but it was impractical,” Oelker said.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the completion of the project’s first phase. The second phase will include a multi-purpose room, locker rooms and other storage areas.
West Liberty has four full-time officers and four part-time officers on payroll.