Southern Illinois University's Campus Police force will soon have a new home closer to students.
The SIU Board of Trustees recently approved $1.8 million dollars to move SIU police into Trueblood Hall. Plans are in the works to renovate a lower level to create a brand new state-of-the art communications center, evidence storage facility, temporary holding cells, and an Emergency Operations Center to help SIU better deal with a disaster on campus.
The current police department is inside an old dorm building located on Washington Street, but it's not close to where today's SIU students live.
SIU Police Chief Ben Newman says the location is strategic. Trueblood Hall sits at the base of the Towers, dorms in which the majority of SIU students reside. Newman says it's also where the majority of calls for service come from, so it only makes sense to put police right in the middle of things.
SIU's population is the size of a small city. His department provides all modern-day police services, but Chief Newman says the current building just isn't cutting it.
Newman says the University examined other options like building a new department from the ground up, or renovating the current building, but both options cost more than just renovating the space in Trueblood.
The project is still in the architectural phase right now, but Newman says he's hopeful his department will relocate to its new location sometime next year.