With virtually no parking for guests and only one computer for officers to share, the Memphis Police Department's West Precinct on Union may not be the most practical Midtown headquarters.
But as early as next spring, Midtown officers will be packing their bags and heading to new digs at 949 Crump Blvd.
Although the new precinct will be located on the southern edge of Midtown, Colonel Lori Bullard said the new location will not have a negative affect on patrol efforts in the 31 square miles of Midtown they serve.
"We're still going to be servicing the same area," Bullard said. "[Police officers] don't operate out of the station. Once the roll call has been held, we put everybody in squad cars and send them out to particular areas. We're not like a fire station. Officers don't stay [at the precinct]. They're always out on the street."
The precinct will be near the new University Place apartments and town homes, which replaced the Lamar Terrace housing project. In order for University Place to be constructed, Hope VI grant funding required the city to construct a new police precinct nearby.
Michael Terry, principal owner of Renaissance Group, the commercial architecture firm behind the new precinct, said the station would be more than 15,000 square feet and include a six-bay maintenance facility for police cruisers.
The precinct will also feature training areas for future officers, administrative office space, locker rooms, a place for people to pay traffic tickets, a fitness room, and more parking spaces.
"We're going to have new computers [in the precinct], and with them, officers will be able to access information quickly," Bullard said. "More computers will enable officers to look up warrant information and crime statistics. Right now, we only have one computer that all the officers share."
Lieutenant Trey Shull, projects coordinator for the Memphis Police Department, said the total project costs $6 million, which will be funded over three fiscal years.
"That's going to be the design, construction, and the actual outfitting," Shull said. "We did the design in the first year. We're doing the construction in the second year and the outfitting, which is the purchase of the furniture and computer systems, wiring, cabling, among other things, in the third year."
The design phase was funded in the 2009 budget, but there was a year delay. Funding resumed, enabling construction this year. Final build-out with furniture, fixtures, and equipment is slated in the 2012 budget. Terry said the Crump precinct should be finished in the spring.
The Traffic Division inside the Union precinct will eventually move into new location in Raleigh. Demolition is already complete on the old Seesel's store at 3545 Austin Peay, where construction on the new Traffic Division building will begin in the fall.
Shull said it's still uncertain what will happen to the building on Union once it's vacated. That space has served as a police precinct since 1982.
"It was a former automobile dealership that we were able to retro-fit and make a police precinct out of it," Shull said. "What we are trying to do now is go to a new prototype precinct for less stress on the officers."