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Sarasota Thursday, Jul. 29, 2010 7 years ago

Police headquarters opens its doors

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Rising up in bright blue on downtown’s eastern edge, the new Sarasota Police Headquarters is set for its premiere.

A grand-opening celebration will be held Tuesday, Aug. 3 at the new station on Adams Lane, and the public is invited.

Police-department employees won’t begin moving into their new home until September, but when they do, they’ll have much more room and cleaner facilities in which to work.

The current police station, at 2071 Ringling Blvd., is about 60,000 square feet. The new one is 201,000 square feet, nearly half of which is the parking garage, with six total floors.

“There is more room to do our jobs, instead of being sandwiched in,” said Sgt. Scott Mayforth, who has overseen the construction of the new building and integration of the police department.

A multitude of new features includes seven conference rooms (the current station has two); community meeting room for award ceremonies, media events and neighborhood groups; dedicated training room with updated gym facility; and surveillance in nearly every corner of the building.

Capt. Paul Sutton said he thinks the new building will boost morale among officers.

“It’s a 21st-century building,” said Sutton. “Everything is better about it.”

The current building was pieced together in stages beginning in 1959. There was no designed layout. What was originally a second-floor jail had to be converted into office space, and a third and fourth floor were placed on top of that.

One of the main goals of the new building is to place together the divisions that work closely together. In the current building, two divisions that work together could be on different floors.

The move will take place in five different stages, with the property department moving in last. Once all divisions are in the new building, other city departments will enter the old police building and take anything of use that is left behind, such as hand-scanner systems, desks and chairs.

After everything is cleared out, crews will clear the building of asbestos before it is demolished. Mayforth doesn’t believe that will happen until February or March 2011.

The Sarasota Police Department will hold a public grand-opening ceremony for its new headquarters from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3, at 2099 Adams Lane, which is adjacent to Payne Park. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the National Night Out Against Crime in the park, which begins at 6 p.m.

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