Police move into temporary HQ

Thu, 10/04/2007 - 3:55pm
By: John Munford

No holding cell, security gate; arrested persons will go straight to jail

Police move into temporary HQ

Starting Monday, the Peachtree City Police Department will be up and running at its temporary location.

The department is being shoehorned from the 16,000 square foot headquarters into 9,000 square feet in a building on Commerce Drive just north of Aberdeen Parkway that was the former site of World Gym. The move is expected to last nine months as contractors make adjustments and improvements to the flooring of the headquarters building in an attempt to fix a moisture problem that led to mold, mildew and high humidity levels.

The $1.8 million building opened in 2001 on a tract of land formerly used as a dump, but then-city officials have confirmed it was not built on the dump site itself. The building was built by Leslie Contracting and designed by Don Cobb and Associates. The 5.5 acre site was purchased in 1999 for $140,000 from Pathway Communities. At the time, an environmental survey of the tract showed there were no contaminants present in soil samples taken from the site.

Police Chief James Murray said the new location has some drawbacks but it will be convenient for the public, which was a very important factor. The building was retrofitted with a new computer network and phone system but it lacks other necessities such as multiple interview rooms and a holding cell.

The lack of the holding cell means that all arrested persons will have to be transported to the Fayette County Jail immediately instead of being taken back to the police department for interviews, Murray said. It also means that on DUI cases two officers will be tied up for a longer period of time than normal, Murray added.

The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department has been a big help and is making its intoxilyzer at the jail available for police to use, Murray noted, as the portable hand-held units are not deemed accurate enough for use in court.

The department has also had to mothball not only its gym equipment but also a special machine that is designed to lift fingerprints because there is no way for the exhaust to be removed from the facility. Instead, the department will have to submit fingerprints to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, a process that takes months because of backups at the state crime lab, Murray said.

Although the temporary facility’s parking lot is not gated, police have installed a video monitoring system on the exterior. The lack of a gate is one of the reasons that no arrested persons will be interviewed at the department’s temporary quarters, because if someone got away, there are several businesses nearby including a day care center directly across the street, Murray noted.

The office for the traffic division has no overhead light and no air conditioning.

There’s only one interview room, which is also monitored by video camera. Cubicles have been erected to give detectives some privacy but the cubicles don’t extend all the way to the ceiling

The moving process was expected to finish late tonight with the patrol division moving over, Murray said. Just moving the department’s 35 years of records was quite a chore, requiring a police escort for each truck simply because criminal records can’t be misplaced, Murray said.

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