On October 26, the body now tasked with overseeing a new police facility in Salem, met for the first time and moved the project forward.
The Police Facility Council Subcommittee members are Mayor Anna Peterson, Co-chair Ward 4 City Councilor Steve McCoid, Ward 7 City Councilor Warren Bednarz, Ward 5 City Councilor Diana Dickey and alternate member, Ward 1 City Councilor Chuck Bennett.
Addressing the members and others, Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore referred to recommendations made by the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force Committee, an entity which met in 2014-2015 to solve problems associated with locating and paying for a new police facility.
One Task Force recommendation was that the architects selected to build the new facility should also assist in site location. Moore reported that DLR Group of Chicago, the architectural firm hired for the job, had recently spent four days in Salem assessing the needs of the new station. The group had visited the 911 Center, gone for “drive-alongs,” observed the current structure and spoke with many on the Salem Police Department staff.
Importantly, “they did exactly what we wanted,” Moore said, “they asked about the future.” Salem’s new police building, DLR Group advised the Salem staff, will not be “a conventional office building,” and the architects urged staff to be forward-thinking towards an efficient “24/7” facility.
Moore said that DLR plans involve keeping the new station within 1½ miles of City Hall and including criteria from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
“If it’s in a remote part of town it may not work as well as if it’s centrally located,” Moore told the group. He also implied that likely locations might not be widely broadcast, in order to avoid real estate speculation.
Mayor Anna Peterson confirmed that the subcommittee process was to find the scope determined by DLR first, and prioritize possible sites next.
Responding to a question from Councilor Dickey about the time frame for the subcommittee’s work, Interim City Manager Kasey Duncan said the group expects to “move it forward as quickly as we can” in coming months so that a bond can be put out on the November 2016 ballot.
The next meeting of the subcommittee was set for November 16, 2015.