North Liberty police look to build new police station - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

North Liberty police look to build new police station

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NORTH LIBERTY (KWWL) -

During Tuesday night's North Liberty City Council meeting, a discussion will be had about a proposed time line to build a new police station for the town.

The department has currently outgrown it's current location which once served as a farm house, doctor's office, and city hall before becoming the police station.

Police Chief, Diane Venenga, has been with the department since it was first created back in 1999. It started out small with just Venenga and another officer. Their offices were across the street in the North Liberty Fire Department before moving into the building in 2010.

"We continue to grow and grow in all aspects. We're adding officers every year for increased calls for service, and just for the area that we patrol has increased," Venenga said.

In 2010, the department was up to 13 officers. Now they have 20 full time officers working for them, a number they can't move pass.

"We're out of space and you'll see our locker room, there's no additional spaces that we can put one more officer to store their gear," she said.

The small-sized, one room, locker room is an office space tucked away in the back corner of the building. Every locker is accounted for but still uniform items have made their way into other office spaces because they can't fit.

The move into the building back in 2010 was expected to be a temporary one. Seven years later, they're busting as the seams. 

The space isn't just tight, it doesn't work well for police either after never been modeled into a real police department. Inside, there's no holding room for suspects or someone arrested.

"It's just an office with holes, dents in the drywall where people are upset that they're dealing with law enforcement and it's right next to a window. We make it work because that's the only space we have otherwise a new facility would be built as a police department with that safety and security feature in mind," Venenga said.

Due to the room's lack of security abilities, an officer always has to be in there watching over someone. If the department were to bring in a number of suspects or arrested individuals, could end up sitting in the hallway.

Evidence is stored in the building's basement, one foot above the ground. That's because the basement has a tendency to flood. Confiscated marijuana is triple bagged, but the smell tends to leak upstairs when the furnace turns on.

A new space would also cater better to the public, Venenga said. Parking at the location is difficult and the meeting rooms are small and lack necessary privacy.

The list goes on.

While the proposed timeline doesn't go into cost or design plans it does include a timeline to begin construction in May 2018 and end in April of 2019.

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