Former grocery store continuing transformation into new Monroe police station

Contractors are already at work transforming the former IGA grocery into the new Monroe Police Headquarters on South Main Street. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Contractors are already at work transforming the former IGA grocery into the new Monroe Police Headquarters on South Main Street. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Work is underway at the new Monroe police facility that formerly housed an IGA grocery store.

The $5.7 million transformation project is expected to be completed in late 2020 and fully operational in early 2021.

Monroe Police Chief Bob Buchanan said interior demolition started on Jan. 2 and is “optimistic” the new police facility will be completed later this year and fully operational in early 2021.

“It’s on schedule and there’s been no issues yet,” he said.

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The new 23,000-square-foot facility at the northwest corner of Main Street and Carson Road is needed because the police department has outgrown the current police facility, about 5,000 square feet on the lower level of the Monroe City Building, 233 S. Main St.

The current police station, built in 1999 to house 18 employees, now houses more than 40 employees on staff and space has become a premium as one of the buildings two interview rooms is used as storage space after the dispatch center was expanded. Including the chief, Monroe has 32 sworn officers plus support staff. Buchanan said his plans are to have 36 sworn officers on the department.

City officials have said once the new police facility opens, their former space will be used to house the growing administrative staff.

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Revenues from the 0.50-percent income tax increase passed by voters in 2017 is paying for the project. The city spent $1.9 million to purchase the property in early 2019 which includes the strip center retail spaces, parking areas, pond and a vacant lot.

The new facility will have gated area with canopies to park the department’s SWAT vehicle, cruisers and other vehicles; a drive-through sallyport where Foggyz Vapor Lounge formerly occupied; a new public lobby with a vestibule that leads to a large training room with a kitchenette and adjacent restrooms, a soft interview room, a larger records office and storage area, a self-contained dispatching center and more.

The new facility will also have room for expansion that might include an indoor shooting range that might be constructed in the future.