Cape Girardeau police station to move near Arena Park

Cape Girardeau PD to get new station

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Cape Girardeau Police Department could soon move next to Arena Park.

The city council approved acceptance of a deed on Monday, June 29, which is the next milestone toward a new police station in the city. Once the council accepts the deed, the city will start designing a new police station next to Arena Park.

 “To empower our officers to help keep Cape safe, we need a facility that accommodates current policing methods and the volume of work,” said Police Chief Wes Blair. “Our officers have done the most they can with what they have but it is time to move.”

The police department's need for a new facility became necessary as police say the daytime population and calls for service grew. Though residential population of the city is less than 40,000, current estimates place the daytime population at more than 100,000.

Responding to more than 140 calls for service per day, on top of other commitments, they say their work has become more technical. They say the current building cannot effectively accommodate all of the detectives, evidence specialists, technology and other resources.

Police say the new station will also accommodate legislative changes requiring additional evidence retention and accessibility requirements.

Safety issues also top the list for reasons to move to a new station. The jail is too small and should be located on the first floor with a secure entrance. The new facility will be designed to properly separate prisoners, the public and employees.

According to police, the property at 2530 Maria Louisa Lane on the edge of Arena Park has always been owned by the city. The building currently on the property was owned by the Army Reserve. They say the reserve has been leasing the property from the city since 1968 until vacating the building in 2014.

The city negotiated with the Army Corps of Engineers to take over ownership of the building at no cost to the city.

"We really like the location," said Chief Blair. "It is in the center of the city next to Kingshighway which gives us quick access to the city from the Business Park to downtown, or the airport. Our patrol and traffic officers on the streets will have easy access to headquarters too."

Plans for the new station will be developed over the coming months.

Police and other city officials will weigh the costs of renovation or rebuilding.

The city has contracted with FGM Architects to evaluate the existing building and determine what changes could be needed to meet the police department's and municipal court's needs.

"This city has come a long way since the fire and police departments shared a little building at Frederick and Independence," said Mayor Harry Rediger. "With the support of voters, staff and our city council, we can get ready for the future."

When voters approved the fire sales tax and public safety trust fund in November 2014, they approved a play to pay for a new police station from a combination of sales, restaurant gross receipts and casino taxes.

Early estimates priced the building or renovation at $11 million. By using an existing city-owned property and an existing building, more funding could be allocated to meeting the police department's needs.

In addition, there will likely be enough funding to move the municipal court into the police station project.

Police say City Hall, where the court is currently located, does not have the proper facilities to secure prisoners and the public on court days. Transporting prisoners to and from City Hall would no longer be necessary.

The new location announcement comes on the heels of the new budget year that starts July 1.

The city council approved adding two new police officers, three new jailers at the police department and one code inspector in the Inspections Division at City Hall.

A summary of the police station funding sources includes $4.2 million from restaurant tax, $4.0 million from fire tax and $2.8 million from casino funds. That totals $11 million.

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