Washington City cuts ribbon for new police station

WASHINGTON CITY – Ten years ago the newly formed Washington City Police Department began protecting and serving the residents of this growing city, taking over that duty from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

On Tuesday, nearly a decade later, the city held a ribbon cutting ceremony, officially opening the Police Department’s new station at 135 N. 100 E.

Washington City officials, police and residents gathered at the new Washington City Police Station at 135 N. 100 East to commemorate the opening of the new facility with a ribbon cutting. The new 18,000-square foot building provides much needed space for police operations and services, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 23, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Washington City officials, police and residents gathered at the new Washington City Police Station at 135 N. 100 East to commemorate the opening of the new facility with a ribbon cutting. The new 18,000-square foot building provides much needed space for police operations and services, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 23, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“It’s been a long time coming,” Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson said.

Since its formation in 2006, the city’s police department called a commercial office building at 95 N. Main St. home.

Washington City Police Chief Jim Keith said while the police force was grateful for the use of the old building, it was nonetheless inadequate to meet the needs of the police and the public.

The city’s plans for a new police station originally began forming around 2008, but were derailed due to the economic recession.

Then in January 2015 the city moved ahead with its original plans to issue $3.7 million in bonds to construct the police station, breaking ground in June 2015 and completing the facility earlier this year.

“Now we have this facility that’s state of the art and it gives our officers a chance to spread their wings,” Neilson said.

“More importantly, it’s a good facility to let people know who don’t abide by the law that we’re here and that we’re serious, and we want to continue to have a safe community,” he added.

The new police station is an 18,000-square-foot facility that allows for expanded work space and operations.

“The size of this building is adequate for an operation our size right now and in the future,” Keith said.

Expanded capabilities at the new station include an evidence room, multiple interview rooms, additional administrative and work space, a training room, a secure parking area and other facilities related to police work.

Washington City officials, police and residents gathered at the new Washington City Police Station at 135 N. 100 East to commemorate the opening of the new facility with a ribbon cutting. The new 18,000-square foot building provides much needed space for police operations and services, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 23, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Washington City officials, police and residents gathered at the new Washington City Police Station at 135 N. 100 East to commemorate the opening of the new facility with a ribbon cutting. The new 18,000-square foot building provides much needed space for police operations and services, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 23, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The front of the police station also sports a large, open lobby with two separate rooms attached where police can speak with people privately. the chief said. The large lobby is meant to be more welcoming for residents, versus the much smaller lobby of the old station that was tiny by comparison.

“I’m just excited,” Keith said of the new building.

The new building is anticipated to serve the city for the next 20-plus years.

“This really is the culmination of plans and dreams we’ve had for a long time, so we’re very proud of this day,” City Manager Roger Carter said.

While he hopes the people of Washington City take pride in their new police station, Carter said it is the people inside who make the city safe.

“(I) express deep appreciation to Chief Keith and each of his officers, because this is just a building,” Carter said, “and they are the ones that really impact the community everyday.”

Located next to Washington City Hall, the new police station was built for around $3.4 million. The Washington City Police Department made the move into the new building last month.

In the short-term, the city will continue to use the old police building on Main Street as a possible annex of the City Hall, Carter said. Future plans for that space have yet to be considered, he said.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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