Monroe police, fire departments cramped for space

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Monroe police, fire departments cramped for space

The city of Monroe says it has run out of room for its police force and needs a third fire station to serve its growing population.

The city will pay a consultant between $26,500 to $29,500 for a study into whether it should build a combined public safety facility or new, separate stations.

With all the growth along Interstate 75, Fire Chief John Centers said the department needs a station to serve the city’s eastern side.

“We want to be prepared for situations we know are going to occur based on the history of growth,” he said. “That we don’t go from having a three-, four-, five-minute response times to having an eight-minute response and then try to address that problem.”

The city’s police department headquarters was built in 1999 to house 18 police staffers. The building is now home to 40 employees, according to Police Chief Bob Buchanan.

The police department is using one of the building’s two interview rooms as storage space after expanding its dispatch center.

The police headquarters, which are attached to the city building on Main Street, is land locked and parking is scarce, according to Buchanan.

He said there could be cost savings by co-locating at another location, which would free up the current space for other city departments that are also tight on space.

“The advantages of a combined facility are we can share things,” he said. “The communications center services both the fire and police, so a combined building would help with that. We can share administrative staff — such as the administrative assistants — and combine some of those duties and also looking at training rooms and physical fitness facilities, consolidating those into one location.”

Both chiefs said cost is going to be a factor in driving the ultimate decision, and financing will need to be worked out.

The study is expected to take three to four months to complete, according to Buchanan.

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