By COLE REIF
Great Bend Post
Take one tour through the Great Bend Police Department on Williams Street and you’ll be reminded of a creative labyrinth zigging and zagging through small offices.
The building was erected in 1938 when the population of Great Bend was just over 9,000. The two-story building has 7,500 square feet for both the police department and municipal court to house approximately 40 full-time employees.
Police Chief Steve Haulmark referenced the patrol
supervisor office, which is no more than an 8’ by 8’ room, as an example of
"Four guys share the patrol supervisor's office," said Haulmark. "We only have three computer work stations for officers to write reports. If there is a big incident, everybody is trying to write so you have people waiting around for others to get done."
During a tour Tuesday afternoon, Haulmark noted the police department’s evidence storage is inadequate and they have to store a lot of property off site. The building is not ADA compliant, is difficult to heat or cool and needs larger rooms for victim interviews and meetings.
Haulmark said all these
reasons lead him to support a .10% sales tax increase on November’s General
Election ballot to go towards bond debt to pay for the construction of a new
police station at the 12th & Baker intersection.
"Mainly, we just need more space," said Haulmark. "There is a trend in most facilities to have a room for physical fitness to allow officers to decompress and stay in shape. There would also be both a male and female locker room. But mostly, we just need more space."
Additional tours of the police department will take place on Sept. 21 and Sept. 28 from 4-6 p.m.
The city estimates a 20,000 - 25,000 square foot building will cost $5.8 million. Great Bend has $1.5 million in savings for the project and will take out a bond for the remaining balance.
Three separate questions will appear on the November ballot to increase sales tax. All three combined increases equal a .45% bump to Great Bend’s current 8.25% sales tax.
One question will ask for .10% for debt service to pay for the construction of the new police station. A second question asks for a .15% increase for quality of life improvements. Finally, a .20% bump in sales tax is suggested to improve the city’s pension plan for public safety employees.