Prescott Valley Police Department bursting at seams

PRESCOTT VALLEY – Despite a remodeling project of approximately five years ago, the Prescott Valley Police Department has already outgrown its current building in an effort to keep up with the needs of a growing population.

Kimberly Moon, a town engineer, announced to council members during a Thursday evening study session that the town is currently negotiating with an architectural firm to create several design plans to add about 12,000 square feet of floor space to the police building. The town is willing to pay as much as $250,000 for the design plans.

Police Chief Dan Schatz said the firm's plans will include a basement that the department could use as an emergency operations center (EOC), or for additional evidence storage space.

"The town, at this particular point in time, has no real dedicated emergency operations center that would be in a good situation for the town to operate in, in an emergency," he said. "It currently is planned to be housed at the police department. That's the way you do it ideally – by going down into a basement area like that. It would afford the town the protection that an EOC needs in the event of a disaster."

Town Manager Larry Tarkowski told council members that it would not take much extra work to build a basement. He explained that local construction firms often dig an area large enough for a basement when constructing a building in the town. This is because Prescott Valley soil has a high clay content.

"You go down another four feet, your excavation is complete, and you have a place that is very good for evidence storage," Tarkowski said. He said the town plans to use the building for police operations until 2050, which means that this most recent addition must comply with future expansion plans.

Tarkowski said the best way to do this is to construct the new building so that the town may add stories in the future.

"The foundations will be substantial enough that it will support growing vertically with 10,000 (square-foot) stories," he said.

Schatz said the department may have to add more than 50 sworn officers in the next 10 years, if current growth rates persist.

According to Lt. P.J. Janik, the department currently employs 51 sworn officers and 11 civilians. Thirty-seven of the sworn officers are field patrol officers.

"We are very cramped in the area that we are in," he said. Janik said the architect will also assess the department's current use of space throughout the entire building.

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