BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Brandon Police Service Const. Tanis Basaraba leads a group on a tour of the new Brandon Police Service building during a public open-house on Wednesday afternoon.
Moving day isn’t until July 23, but the Brandon Police Service kicked off a week of public tours of its nearly complete headquarters at 10th Street and Victoria Avenue yesterday.
A group of people walk past the constable work area at the new Brandon Police Service headquarters during a tour on Wednesday. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Wednesday was first of five days where public tours will be allowed of the new 42,000 square foot building, a massive increase in space from the 18,000 square foot building the force now uses on Ninth Street.
"It’s a lot more modern and the space is tremendous compared to what we had," Const. Ron Burgess said. "I’d have to say the modern design of the building is the most positive change. It’s set up to meet our needs rather than making an existing building try to meet our needs."
Juanita Pulak, who was one of the first to go on yesterday’s tour, had also toured the old complex years ago.
"I thought (the new building) is incredible," Pulak said. "It’s about time. One of my classmate’s fathers was a sergeant, so I’ve been in the old station in the mid-1980s and this is a much-needed improvement."
Though many of the security features were not disclosed on the public tour, there are 38 video surveillance cameras are set up throughout the complex for security purposes, and there are ways someone fleeing to the station from harm can find a safe haven in the entranceway, where both sets of doors can lock.
Inside the building, alarms can be triggered that are either audible or silent throughout the building, and there are electronic message boards that outline the nature of the emergency.
The space increases will enhance the record keeping and identification units, and the new sergeant offices are the same size as rooms that housed four officers in the old building.
One key feature is the 10-foot high doors to offices, as that design feature enables for either an increase in office size or a decrease to accommodate more offices.
For example, doors can be moved as one panel, and exchanged with a window panel, more or less like a Lego set.
Wall panels and doors are not intended to be temporary, but the possibility they can be moved into other configurations increases the flexibility and allows for a growing police force. A city press release stated that the new police station has the capacity to serve a population of 65,000 people.
Unless you are working in the building, it’s not likely members of the public will see much of the facility after tours end on July 19. Aside from the front entrance hall and a multi-purpose room connected to that hall, access to the rest of the building will be restricted.
"We have rooms that can accommodate different uses," Burgess said. "We have some open spaces that can accommodate public meetings and whatever is necessary. Also there is technology in different rooms where they allow different bords to be moved around on different walls."
Those escorted to the building in handcuffs could see one of the nine holding cells in the building, with hard-surface beds/benches. They will likely have entered the building through a secured garage in the rear of the building. A victim services area that includes a comfortable area for interviews with new couches and a coffee table may also be accessed by those needing that service.
Burgess noted some of the staff have already moved into the facility and that as much as possible, the move into the new station is being done in stages. The plan on July 23 is for the night shift of July 22 to be the last to work out of the old building, with the morning shift on July 23 being the first official shift in the new building.
"Most of the essential operations will be in place when we move in," Burgess said. "We have movers involved as well and we have the city’s IT department involved so there’s all kinds of things going on right now.
Other public tours will be held today from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Next week features three days worth of tours, all running from 10 a.m. to noon, and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. They will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Those wanting to take a tour are asked to report to the main entrance facing Victoria Avenue.
Shrubs can’t stand the heat
While the progress on the new police station has been successful, the same can’t be said for the small shrubs planted to accent the landscaping of the property.
The shrubs were planted by a landscaper hired by the main contractor, said city communications director Allison Collins. As the plants have not responded well to the recent heat wave, they will be replaced under a warranty.
Collins added the shrubs are only a part of the overall landscaping project for the site and more work will be done there.
The north part of the parking lot is slated to be the home of a veterans memorial, with a private group headed by Don Berry doing the fundraising work.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 12, 2012