City moves to build new public safety headquarters - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

City moves to build new public safety headquarters

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

A multi-million dollar project is in the works to change the face of public safety in one community.

Cedar Falls is working to finalize plans for a new public safety building on the site of the current south fire station near Greenhill and South Main Street.

It is a vision the city has been working on for more than 5 years and now hopes to start construction next summer.

With the Cedar Falls' Fire Department and Police force working towards more and more cross training as Public Safety Officers and as current buildings continue to age, city officials believe housing the two departments in one place will create more efficiencies.

"The best part of this is getting police and fire under the same roof so we can continue with that public safety model because there are some huge efficiencies in the personnel costs in doing something like this," said Cedar Falls Public Safety Officer Jeff Olson.

The new building would also solve some current space issues as well.

"In police, for example, the officers are doing report writing in a hallway, so people are going back and forth all the time and irrupting them or they may be interviewing an individual. It is a traffic pattern area," explains Olson.

The current main fire station at 18th and Main Street is 65 years old and needs some updates.

Once the new building is built the 18th Street station will be a substation with plans down the road to replace it with a station on the north side of town.

"There will be no increase in taxes. We have saved the money to pay for this. I think that is pretty significant," said Olson.

The city plans to pay for the building through their capital improvements fund and grants.

However, not everyone supports combining the two departments.

"The most we hear is encouragement. We do have a few that just aren't in favor of that for different reasons. Some of the public has concerns about the expense and some of the employees because they like the traditional way of doing things, separate police and fire. They don't want the combination," said Olson.

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