By Brandi Makuski
The Stevens Point Police Department is close to finally getting some upgraded facilities.
Former Police Chief Kevin Ruder said he’d pushed for “many years” to get some basic facility upgrades approved by city- which leases the space- and the county- which owns the space.
Last week’s county Space and Properties Committee finally gave the go-ahead for city leaders to make some construction changed in the space.
Along with plumbing issues in the restrooms, peeling paint and unsecured windows, Ruder said the layout of the department was among the biggest problem.
In a City Times series “State of Repair” which ran in January, Assistant Chief Tom Zenner said the department was “one bad situation away from everything falling down”.
“We looked at each other and collectively said, ‘We need to do something- We need to start educating people on just what the problems are here,” said interim Police Chief Marty Skibba.
Skibba said previous police chiefs have brought the problems before the city but solutions came in the form of compromises and band aid-fixes which have kept the department limping along to the present.
Some improvements had been made in short order following the “State of Disrepair” series, to include plumbing paint repairs. Skibba said some officers have been changed around to improve access and security.
Now, the city’s police department is one step away from final approval for a facilities upgrade to improve safety and efficiency.
The county’s Space and Properties Committee unanimously approved allowing the city to conduct various upgrades, to the tune of $50,000. The upgrades will be paid for by the city’s general building maintenance fund.
The exact nature of the proposed upgrades were discussed in closed session to protect the department’s security measures. Final approval for the remodeling will come from the full County Board on July 21.