Developments & Progress
 

The Old

 

The New (From the master plan presented by ADG)

 

 

 

Current Police Facility Shortcomings & Needs Analysis

 

We have attempted to address each area of operations within the department and how the facility shortcomings affect the whole operation of the Jacksonville Police Department. The square footage of the current facility is not necessarily the whole issue, although some areas are too small. The greater issue is how the square footage is being utilized and the major repairs and/or renovation that would be needed now and in the future, and the cost relationship between the two. Other issues are all around privacy, safety, security of the prisoners and the staff. The citizens of Jacksonville are a major factor that have been considered in the studies. There are issues in each of these areas that affect public safety, security, state & federal building codes, health concerns, and the concerns of the staff and the public that visit our facilities. In short, "What Is" is a facility that does not meet national standards. "What Should Be" is a facility that we, the people of Jacksonville can be proud of for the next 25+ years and meets and/or exceeds national standards.

 

- The Case for a New or Renovated Building -

 

Summary:

The current facility is severely overcrowded in some areas and there is wasted space in other areas. This creates a safety risk for the officers, staff, in-mates, and citizens in and around the department. This also creates a security issue for the police/jail building, evidence room, evidence garage, property and equipment. Emergency preparedness, response, and recovery capacity in the face of a natural, environmental or manmade disaster cannot be assured in the current facility. Employee morale and operational efficiency are compromised. The Jacksonville Police Department lags behind several neighboring communities with regard to working conditions, operational capacity, and the message the building conveys to the candidate pool for recruiting officers. Finally, the buildings' inadequacies send a negative message to the City leaders, the citizens of our community, and the staff regarding the security and good order of the community.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

Why do we need a new police building? The current one doesn’t look so bad.

 

You can’t judge a book, or building, by its cover. The current police building was originally built in 1934 as the Jacksonville City Hall. It had a very small jail built upstairs and the police department was located in a single room of the building. At that time our police force consisted of a couple of officers and the chief, compared with an authorized staff of 37 and still growing today. Behind the rock walls, the building is cramped and deteriorating. The building needs costly repairs and/or renovation to bring it up to national, state and city codes/standards. The building lacks adequate office space, break room facilities, meeting/training area, confinement/booking space, emergency operational space and vehicle parking space for both staff and law enforcement vehicles. 

 

Aren’t police officers supposed to be out on the streets?  Why does the building need to accommodate a bigger force?

 

Yes, but the building houses numerous personnel besides patrol officers, including support staff such as records clerk, jailer, investigators, communication personnel, and command staff. We have run out of parking for patrol vehicles and for citizens conducting business within the department. At least half the necessary parking needs to be within a secure area. Officers need to return to the office for shift change, operational briefings, arrest processing/releasing, processing of evidence, take reports, take a breaK or answer questions from citizens who walk into the office, . Certain activities, like report-writing, are normally done in the patrol vehicle, but some reports must be completed at the office. Adequate room for multiple officers to write and/or edit those reports is important. The general public comes to the police department for information, report traffic problems, to ask for directions, pay tickets, or to use the public restroom. Other times the citizens come to the office to file police reports, pick up reports, talk with investigators, meet with the chief, exchange children between divorced parents, or to bond someone out of jail. In the past, our jail population consisted mainly of a couple of individuals sitting out fines. Today it is not unusual to house four to six at a time, for a month at a time. This is on top of individuals who get arrested and are housed for eight, twelve to sixteen hours before being released. The jail is simply too small! The building was built in 1934 and the added jail was built in 1992. We need to look to the future about 25+ years. Current industry standards show that the life of a government building is from 25 to 50 years. Past that, the building needs a great deal of costly renovation, replacement or the agency just out grows it. The Jacksonville Police Department has been in its current facility for 77+ years.

 

How will a new facility improve services for the community?

A new Police facility will improve the departments’ service through efficiency and improvements in communications with the public, between employees, other law enforcement agencies, and will dramatically improve the safety/security of persons and information within the Department. It will provide a location for the public to meet with law enforcement to exchange ideas, to discuss community concerns, safety issues, and demonstrate a positive/professional image to our citizens that we care and are concerned about them, because we do! First impressions tell a lot about the city, the department, and its employees. A 77+ year old building conveys the same about its employees and the city. Lack of proper space, poor lighting, poor air quality, and poor standards is not conducive to a quality working environment. We field many complaints about the building not being ADA compliant. This portrays an image to the public that "They can’t take care of their house, how are they going to take care of mine". This facility precludes the ability to conduct private conversations with the public on very sensitive matters. The interview room is located just off the main lobby area which precludes any private conversations with victims, suspects, witnesses, etc… Radio communications with the dispatcher and officers in the field is overheard by persons standing in the main lobby area. Sensitive information is exchanged between officers in the field and the police communication officer’s which could contain your social security numbers, dates of birth, names, addresses, and at times medical information between the EMS and the dispatcher. The building does not have adequate restroom facilities for the public and the employees. It lacks ample parking for citizens and employees.  A new facility would correct these problems and allow officers and other personnel to communicate more efficiently while maintaining the public’s privacy.  We all agree continual training leads to a better employee and a place to do that training would be great. We currently do not have a training room, work-out room, locker rooms, etc… A facility with a training room would be a place to conduct citizen safety awareness classes, and other public safety programs led by the police department personnel. Due to the fact the Jacksonville City Court exists only because of the Jacksonville Police Department, it only makes sense that the court should be co-located with the  jail and police department. Fines, bonds, probation are all functions of the Jacksonville City Court, but the general public thinks these functions are part of the police department. Co-locating the two functions provides better service to the general public, allows for the court personal to conduct 72 hrs hearings in a secure environment and allows prisoners to be transported back and forth to the court without addition personnel in a more secure environment. Currently visitation is on weekends if law enforcement personnel are available. If not, the only contact with family and friends is via a collect phone call from the jail. A new facility would allow non-contact secure visitation 24 hrs a day without tying up law enforcement or jail personnel.

How big would the new facility need to be? Why so much larger than the current one?

 

A Space Needs Assessment was completed in late 2008 and then again in 2011 to provide us, the city leaders with an estimate of how big our facility should be to accommodate our existing staff and staff for the future. A projection was then made, based on population/growth of the City of Jacksonville, coverage area, and the staff from the 70’s to the present to determine how big the facility should be in the year 2036. It was determined the building should be approximately 23,536 square feet. This more then doubles the current size. This is based on current national trends and standards in law enforcement. Should the decision be made to add the court facilities to this project, we would need to add an additional 7,165 square feet to the project. This may seem like a lot for the court room, but remember, this area is used by the whole City as an additional meeting/training and events room and a Community Safe Room. A facility of this size would allow all of the police functions to be done in one building, rather than two as is now the case. A change of venue also would provide adequate area for secure police and staff vehicle parking, equipment and evidence storage. The building will be constructed with some room for growth.  It would service our community for the next 25+ years.

 

Why not renovate and/or add to the current facility?

 

According to the Jacksonville Building Inspector, a number of issues need to be addressed and if we start to renovate we must comply with all the codes and regulations pertaining to a commercial/public building. This would require extensive work to the current facility to bring the building up to the following standards;

  • ADA regulations

  • NFPA 101: Life Safety Code

  • Alabama Building Commission

  • 2006 International Fire Code

  • 2006 International Fuel Gas Code

  • 2006 International Building Code

  • 2006 International Plumbing Code

  • 2006 International Mechanical Code

  • 2006 International Energy Conservation Code

  • 2008 National Electric Code (effective Feb. 8, 2008)

  • Alabama Department of Public Health

  • EPA - The Toxic Substances Control Act

  • Current Southern Building Code standards

  • Federal Performance-Based Detention Standards

  • Alabama Title 14 - Criminal Correctional And Detention Facilities

  • American Correctional Association (ACA) Adult Local Detention Facility (ALDF) standards

  • Fire suppression system

  • Etc…

  • And after all the above standards are met, we still have run out of physical space! The property we are currently sitting on is just physically too small for this type of expansion. Even if the city purchased the land behind the department it still would not be enough room to co-locate the court and have enough room for parking for staff, patrol vehicles, and customer for court.

     

    How much will a new Police/Court Facility cost? Isn’t the cost still more than most office buildings?

     

    The cost of the Police Facility (Public Safety Complex) project is estimated $11.6 million with the court. That is just an estimate based on other government projects in 2011 in the southeast United States. The reason for the high cost of construction is the nature of the building. Communication/emergency operation center, the jail area, evidence storage, and the investigation sections must be constructed in a format that allows the operations to function 24/7/365 during both normal and/or natural/manmade catastrophe events. Other portions of the building can be constructed using more economical means. One thing is for sure, the project cost today is cheaper then the project cost will be tomorrow. Remember, you’re not building a fast food restaurant, or a normal commercial building, the standards for a jail, communication center, evidence storage, etc… are much higher then in a normal commercial building. Most building are not used 24/7/365 days per year. Even Wal-Mart’s that are open 24/7/365 rebuild after about 25 years. A building that is used 24/7/365 is not 1 year old at the end of that year, it is considered 3 years old. Everything in the building is used 3 times as much as a normal building.

     

    Why in these economic time should we build a new facility of this size?

     

    It is simple; it will cost the city less today then when the economy recovers in the next few years! As fiscal planners of the cities funds, we want to get the most bang for our bucks. You don’t pay cash for a house and we can’t pay cast for this type of facility. We will have to get a loan and bonds. The loan/bond people have told the city leaders that loans are at a 45 year low. Other finance people have told the city council members that loans are at a record low. This all translate to saving the city money on the principle of the loan that could add it to millions of dollars saved for the citizens of Jacksonville over the life of the loan. But let us look at other areas to save the city funds. Contractors that have not had work or limited amount for the last few years are going to be more willing to bid the job out at a lower rate so as to get the contract. Once again that translates to savings over the life of the project. Building material that has been sitting on a shelf in some warehouse is costing the building material company money and they will be more willing to let that product go for a lower rate to get some return on there investment. In other words, some money is better then no money!

     

    The businesses in and around Jacksonville will also profit from the project due to the workers eating at local restaurants, shopping at the local building supplies stores, or just running to Wal-Mart for personal needs before going home. Some of the contractors may stay at our local hotel/motel for the week. They will buy gas, and other products at the local convenience stores. All that will bring more dollars and jobs to Jacksonville. Hopefully are local contractors will get some of the bids for this project and they will create more local jobs which may hold them over for the economy to recover and they won’t have to travel somewhere else for work. This will keep families together.

     

    Why shouldn’t we use one of the vacant buildings around town, like the mill property?

     

    It’s possible, but most are inadequate. Remember the reason for moving in the first place was issues with the current facility which are 77+ years old. By retrofitting the mill property, etc…, you are still in an old building. By law, any building used by certain public safety agencies such as police or fire must meet more stringent structural requirements. Thus, an existing building would likely need retrofitting to comply with the "essential services" security standards, and those costs could be moderate to significant. That is more costly than building a new facility. Also, a Police Facility has unique needs not generally reflected in the original design of average office buildings. They include secure storage for evidence and weapons, vehicle facilities, prisoner holding cells, locker rooms, complex communication equipment, and laboratory areas for testing and investigative work. The Union Yarn Mill building was constructed in the early 1900’s. Construction materials using asbestos and lead based paints were commonly used back then. These materials would need to be removed before starting any new project. Other issues using the old mill or any old building in the City, the mill is over 100 years old. All we are doing is going from one old build to another and we will still have to bring them up to code. Remember, the old mill was constructed for the purpose of processing cotton into yarn, not housing prisoners, or communications equipment. Other old buildings in Jacksonville have been designed for retail sales, not to house prisoners, or act as a storm shelter, remember most of these building are clear span building with hollow block walls, they don’t do will in tornados or strong winds. And another key point we need to remember, besides the old mill or any of the other old buildings around town, the city does not own them, and before we did renovation on them, we would have to purchase them and then renovate it. That will cost the citizens more in the long run then starting from scratch.

     

    Why are city leaders looking at an architect firm in Florida and not in Alabama?

     

    This has been a great debate among citizens and city leaders. Let us put it in terms that are easier to understand. If you were sick, you would go to your local doctor to find out what is wrong. Your local doctor says something does not look right, I think you may have cancer. So he/she sends you to a doctor that specializes in cancer called an "oncologists". Your life is on the line so you want to go to the best cancer doctor that money can buy. Your treatment may cost you and your insurance company a hundreds of thousands of dollars.  If your life is on the line, you want the cancer doctor to have the best knowledge in the field of cancer treatment and not just a general knowledge in the field. In other words, do you want your local doctor doing your treatment or the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University Hospital, or the Mayo Clinic, the top three cancer treatment centers in America. Why, they specialize in one thing, Cancer Treatment! The architect firm in Florida specializes in one thing, Public Safety! We are looking at spending not hundreds of thousands, but 10 to 14 million dollars. If you had to answer to 12,548 citizens why you used an architect firm in Alabama that had some experience in public safety but did not specialize in that type of design, what would your answer be? A Public Safety complex is not a general purpose commercial type building, it is specialize type building with specialize requirement’s. We found this out on our jail that was designed and built in 1992 by a local general architect firm. (See our current jail situation below)

     

    - An Overview of the Current Police Facilities -

     

    The Jacksonville Police Department is broken up into five operational sections. These sections are as follows;

    • Administration

      • Records

      • Building maintenance

    • Patrol division

      • SRO

    • Investigations

      • Evidence

      • Crime lab

    • Communications

    • Corrections

    The Building

    Currently: "What Is"

    The building was erected in 1934 and is constructed of steel, concrete, and rock. At the time of its construction a lot of the safety and building codes were not in effect. The building was never insulated so heating and cooling has always been a issue. Heating and cooling during the early years was done with opening the windows or firing up an old boiler located in the basement of the building. Some time in the 60’s or 70’s, a HVAC unit was installed for the building. Due to the fact the building is two stories; a smaller unit was installed on the second floor. In 2006 the single pane glass & steel windows were replaced with double pane glass & aluminum windows. This was done to increase the energy efficiency of the building, but the power bill has continued to go up by about 8.31% per year over a last five years. These windows are fixed and do not open, therefore the building can not be properly ventilated. The installation of the windows was completed, but the windows were never sealed around the frame. The building is a two story building, but never had an elevator installed, so two flights of very steep stairs are on either end of the building for ingress / egress. The stairs on the back end of the building do not have hand rails. As in most construction of the times, the building was raised so to ingress / egress from the building, you must go up or down a set of stairs. The stairs in the front of the building did not have handrails until 2010, and being this is the main entrance to the building, it also does not have a handicap ramp for wheel chair accessibility. The Americans with Disabilities Act was not even thought of in the building industry during the construction of this building in 1934. A number of systems are beginning to fail due to the age of the building. The building does not have hot water. The plumbing is beginning to leak and falling apart. The gas lines need to be replaced or not used at all, which brings us back to a heating problem. The wiring in the building is just a bunch of patch work from panel to panel. During a power failure, the building is not equipped (wired) to maintain the operations of computers, cooling, or even the lighting in parts of the building. There is no emergency lighting in the building. The jail is required to have functional lighted exit signs above exterior doors, but the main part of the building which house the public and staff does not have lighted exit signs. Remember those windows that do not open, have a power failure in the dog days of summer. Because of the design, location and growth of the department, we have out grown the building in this location. Other problems:

    • Walls are mildewing, have moisture coming through them, and lead based paint is flaking off

    • Ceiling tiles are discolored, stained, broken or just missing

    • No security from the jail to dispatch and beyond

    • There are a number of safety code violations

    • A number of Life Safety Code Violations

    • We do not have an weapons armory

    • No emergency lighting

    • No smoke detectors

    • Etc…

    Needs: "What Should Be"

    We need a building up to national standards, both federal, state and city codes, life safety codes, and health standards in a location that is more accommodating to the public, other agencies and to its officers / employees to protect their health, safety, and security concerns for the City of Jacksonville. The building should meet the L.E.E.D. - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

     

    Public Parking

     

    Currently:  "What Is"

    The current parking arrangement for the general public is three spaces directly in front of the office, seven spaces on the side of the building. These seven spaces are general unavailable because the Chief occupies the first space, both investigator vehicles are generally parked in the next two spaces. The records clerk parks in the next space and the utility pick-up truck parks in that space. The next two spaces are past the generator and are generally occupied by the departments’ four wheel drive military vehicle and an undercover confiscated vehicle. Other parking is available up and down the street and sometimes across the street, but all that parking is restricted to two hours only. Parking is cramped and potentially hazardous at times. At night some of the street lighting is in need of repair. There is no dedicated handicap parking for a government building. Due to the design and space available, someone could park a vehicle borne IED directly next to the building which violates "Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7: Critical Infrastructure (Executive Order 13010 of July 15, 1996) Identification, Prioritization, and Protection"

     

    Needed:  "What Should Be"

    A dedicated parking lot other than the street would allow not only safe passage to the building, but would also make it possible for handicap parking. This area should also be well lighted.

     

    Staff & Law Enforcement Parking

     

    Currently: "What Is"

    Staff parking is limited. Staff has the option of parking in the church parking lot, which is private property not owned by the city and unusable on Sundays. There is public parking across the street, but it is labeled "Two Hour Parking". Other public parking is available up and down the street most of the time. None of these areas are well lit at night, and/or secure. Due to the nature of our job, we tend to up-set folks from time to time and they sometimes take out their hostilities on our personnel property (our vehicles). Our Law Enforcement vehicles are also left open to public attack. These vehicles have also been targets for unhappy citizens that we deal with. These vehicles have sensitive radio equipment which does not need to fall into the wrong hands, laptop computer, camera systems, etc… all the added equipment to these patrol vehicles adds up to about $12,000 above the standard price of the vehicle.

     

    Needs: "What Should Be"

    We need a secure, well lit parking area for not only our staff, but to also protect our investments in the law enforcement vehicles. This area should be large enough to accommodate not only our vehicles, but in times of crisis, other first responders and their vehicles.

     

    Lobby & Public Restroom Facilities

     

    Currently:  "What Is"

    The current lobby is very small and there are three places to sit. If more than about five visitors come in at the one time, they are bumping into each other. There is also not enough room for forms and literature. Bonding companies are allowed to stick their signs onto the wall and then they place business cards all around the sign and all over the counters. This leaves no space for pamphlets on crime prevention, drug awareness, firearms safety, or any other public safety information. The lobby also leads directly to the public safety dispatcher. This personal contact interferes with the police / fire / EMS public safety communication during times of emergency. Just normal conversations in the lobby make it very difficult to hear public safety radio traffic from law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel. Also direct contact between the general public and the dispatcher leads to a bigger problem because the general public in the lobby area do not know to stop talking when someone is calling on the radio or phone. Due to the size of the communication room, these same individuals in the lobby hover in the dispatchers’ window to see the cameras in the jail area. At times the dispatcher has to blank out these monitors for the privacy of the prisoner’s and this means the jail area is not being monitored. This may be a nice personal touch, but it has become a huge safety issue. This also violates "Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7: Critical Infrastructure Identification, Prioritization, and Protection". There is only one public restroom, not handicap accessible and cleaning supplies are kept behind a dirty bed sheet. This could be a safety issue for small children and/or a safety / improvised weapons issue for communication and staff. Because the lobby is constructed of two sheets of paneling, any and all conversation in the officers’ workroom can be and are overheard.

     

    Needed:  "What Should Be"

    A larger lobby area is needed so that multiple visitors are able to move about without running into each other. This area should have no direct contact with your public safety communications. Public safety communication is the life blood of the City's public safety operations. The lobby should also provide an area for visitors to fill out forms, talk briefly with police/staff, review safety literature, review the city map to find their way, sit and wait for bonding personnel, just wait out severe weather, or to talk with other law enforcement personnel coming to assist them. A couple of small interview rooms should be attached to the lobby for such activities as filing a police report, talking with an officer in private, bond personnel to fill out paperwork, etc… or a safe place to seek retreat. A public restroom should be made available for both men and women, not the same one. The public restroom should be handicap accessible, with hot water to wash your hands. Cleaning supplies should be kept out of reach of children, not left in the restroom unsecured behind a dirty bed sheet.

     

    Administration – Chief’s Office

     

    Currently: "What Is"

    The chief’s office is very small and cluttered. Only three visitors and/or staff at a time may fit in his office. The restroom has no ventilation or hot water for washing hands. There is no storage space and his printer must sit on a file cabinet. Some of the department weapons are also stored in this office without any form of security. The room is dark, drafty, and like all the offices in the building, there are a number of health related issues.

     

    Needed: "What Should Be"

    The chief needs an officer free from the health related issues, large enough to hold a supervisor or small staff meeting and private enough when those tough decisions dealing with employees and/or the public. A closet and/or gun case to secure weapons or other sensitive equipment like NVG or FLIR would be a plus.

     

    Meeting / Conference / Training Room

     

    Currently: "What Is"

    There is no training room and/or conference/meeting room in the building. Currently the department uses the general office area up-stairs for departmental interviews.  This area does not allow seating for more then about eight people. Parts of the ceiling were removed to install new HVAC ducting work, but the ceiling has never been repaired. The carpet was removed a few years ago and nothing was put down in its place.

     

    Needed:  "What Should Be"

    An area is needed for departmental trainings and monthly department meetings. This area could also double as an emergency operation center, and emergency planning area. Depending on the size and configuration, this room could be used for community safety programs for our citizens, or news media briefing, etc…

     

    Records Section

     

    Currently:  "What Is"

    The general public can and do walk into the records section. If the records clerk has stepped out of the office or gone to the restroom, the general public has access to the sensitive files and classified information that may be left out waiting to be filed, mailed or processed in some form. These file cabinets are also not secured in any way. We have had case files walk out of the office never to be seen again. Departmental personal and case file records are stored in file boxes up-stairs also unsecured. Archive records which must be kept by Alabama statute (Title 36, Chapter 12 and Title 41, Chapter 13), are not in a secure location within the building.

     

    Needed:  "What Should Be"

    The records section should be a secured area and not open to the general public. The filing system should be secured, and utilize the whole room more efficiently. A carousel filing system takes advantage of unused space within the room utilizes that space more efficiently and can be secured and controlled. Some other advantages to this filing system, you eliminate the bending over or back injuries, the cabinet can have fire protection built into it. A clean and dry storage area that is easily accessible and secure is needed for proper record retention. The area should be fire resistant, climate controlled and controlled/security.

     

    Patrol Division –

    Officer’s Work/Report Room

     

    Currently:  "What Is"

    This is the administrative area for the patrol division. The current officer’s room is 40’ x 13’6" and is extremely cramped. At the point the three desks are at, the room is only 9’10" wide. The lockers are in an area that is only 6’2" wide. So even though the room is supposedly wide and long enough, it in fact is very cramped to work in. In this area the on going shift gets briefed by the off going shift. This same area is where all the shifts paper work is completed, and at time where evidence is processed, where juveniles are held waiting for there parents, etc… If a drug raid is being planned involving Jacksonville Police or a search warrant is going to be executed, this is the area that all the officers are briefed from. Paneling separates this office from the general public. Anyone in the lobby area can hear what is going on in the city as officer’s talk about it. It also houses all the department forms, employee bulletin boards, roll call information, and is the main area for information exchange and interviews. The door leading from the lobby to the workroom is never secured, and it is only an interior door anyway. This is also an unsecure access to communication, booking and the jail. The pathway from the lobby area to the work area, and communication would not allow an ambulance gurney to make the corner to evacuate someone needing medical attention. This area is also the main pathway for the general public to visit someone in the jail.

     

    Needed:  "What Should Be"

    Additional office space is needed to provide workstations for officers to write reports and conduct private interviews in a secured environment. This area needs to be large enough to conduct briefings of a classified nature, and out of ear shot of the public.

     

    Supervisors Office

     

    Currently:  "What Is"

    There are no Supervisors Offices. Should an employee have a problem that he/she wishes to discuss privately with his/her supervisor, they have to find a vacant office, go outside somewhere, or just hope no one walks in on them.

     

    Needed:  "What Should Be"

    A Supervisors Office is needed so that each supervisor can conduct performance appraisals and have personal conversations with their subordinates privately. The need for an office where supervisors can talk with other supervisors, check over paperwork, do scheduling for the shift and other events, and conduct one on one training. A place for supervisor’s to maintain their shift’s equipment.

     

    Criminal Investigation Division – Office’s

     

    Currently: "What Is"

    Two of three investigators are located to the right and left of the front door as soon as you walk into the building. There is no privacy in this area and in fact people have just walk into the investigators office all the time just looking for the Chief, records/police reports or just want directions to somewhere in town. The investigators maybe conducting an interviews, conversations, or conducting an interrogation of a suspect on a very serious crime, something very embarrassing to a victim, or just talking about drug information that the complainant wants to remain anonymous.

     

    Needed: "What Should Be"

    The Criminal Investigation Division needs an area to handle confidential and case sensitive investigations out of view and ear shot of the public. An office is needed for each investigator in order to follow up on cases in private. These offices should be able to be locked and should be restrictive from even members of the department. A small evidence locker/closet should be incorporated in this section so evidence is available during the investigation, but still secure. A conference room should also be incorporated into this section for inter-agency planning, attorney briefings, press briefings, family briefings, etc…

     

    Criminal Investigation Division – Interview Room

     

    Currently: "What Is"

    The interview room is just past the investigator’s offices on the left. In fact the interview room is within ear shot of the main lobby. The interview room is used for every body from a waiting room, to bondsman’s office, to report writing room. Any conversation in this interview room can be and has been heard by people in the lobby. The walls of this interview room are constructed of thin paneling which does not allow for privacy conversations of a sensitive nature. The other problem is if the investigator is on the phone or talking with someone in his office, the general public using the interview room can over hear the whole conversation in the investigator’s office because the only thing separating the interview room from the investigator is two sheets of ¼" paneling. Depending on the seriousness of the crime, more and more courts are demanding both audio and video of the interview/interrogation to allow the juries the opportunity to judge the authenticity of the interview/interrogation and to insure it falls within constructional guidelines. This room has no audio and video to insure it falls within constitutional guidelines.

     

    Needed: "What Should Be"

    The need for an interview room with a one way mirror, audio and video recording capability should be incorporated in this section. This room should also be strong enough to be classified as a light holding cell.

     

    Evidence Room / Storage Area

     

    Currently: "What Is"

    One of the areas that are very important in the prosecution of criminal cases is the integrity of the evidence. The evidence room is located in the middle of the building just before the booking area of the jail. The central HVAC unit sits above the major case area in the evidence room. The room has no ventilation or HVAC. At times the room leaks from rain water and moisture stays in the room which has caused mold and other health hazards. The evidence room has only one outlet so a power strip is used, and it is over loaded. The evidence room had and has mice, bugs, and other vermin at times. Large items of evidence must be placed in the old fire department building, which is totally unsecure. City workers, trustees, RSVP personnel, officers, and anybody else who uses this area for storage have access to the evidence; this creates other issues.

     

    http://www.jaxnews.com/view/full_story/14421913/article-Questions-raised-about-evidence-room

     

    Needed: "What Should Be"

    A larger evidence room with;

    • Proper lighting

    • Wall outlets

    • HVAC

    • A refrigerator

    • Shelving with plastic storage containers, not cardboard boxes

    • A desk or table for packaging evidence headed for the state crime lab.

    • http://www.iape.org/DownLoads/index.htm#IAPE_New_Standards

    Crime Scene Evidence Processing Room

     

    Currently:  "What Is"

    We currently do not have an "Evidence Processing Area" per say. Proper evidence processing requires an area with ventilation, which we do not have. Evidence that is currently processed is done in the sally port or up-stairs in an unventilated room.

     

    Needed:  "What Should Be"

    A Crime Scene Evidence Processing Room is needed to process prints, castings, photographs, etc… this area could be shared with the evidence room.

     

    Communication Division

     

    Currently: "What Is"

    The communication section is one of the most critical sections in the department and yet one of the most abused and neglected. The room is 12’1" X 9’6" (roughly 116 sq. ft). This section handles all the communication for the fire, EMS, and the police department. After hours it also handles any emergency calls involving city utilities. They handle walk in traffic, and run any information criminal in nature through the national computer system known as "LETS", (Law Enforcement Telecommunication System) Of all the other sections within the department, this section has seen more patch work and additions then anywhere else. Wires dangle; are exposed, and have been overloaded. Radios, computers, CCTV, and phones systems have been added, removed, and new ones installed without removing any of the old wiring. The room has one small HVAC vent. The temperature in this room stays hotter then any other room in the building; it is drafty in the winter and hot in the summer. There is no restroom or break area near the communication room, and depending on how busy they are depends on if and when they can get to a restroom. Because only one person works in the communication section at a time, (which this was not designed to happen, it was designed for two people!!) they have to take their breaks in that same room. There is no back-up system set for this section. If the power goes out and the generator at the fire department fails, we have no phone service. If our generator at the police department fails, which it has done, we have no lights, no computers, and the heating or cooling does not work. As stated in the problems with the lobby, the dispatcher should not have any physical contact with the public. This is not only unsafe, but during an emergency this can become a life threatening problem. Because the room is so small, people in the lobby can see the CCTV system; hear the public safety radio traffic which may be about them. They hear sensitive information like names, dates of birth, social security numbers, etc…

     

    Needed: "What Should Be"

    A larger communication section with a restroom and a small break area incorporated. Due to the fact someone is always in this room, the room temperature should be controlled independently from the rest of the building. The computers and radio equipment can and do affect the room temperature and should be compensated for. Of all other areas in the building, this area should be controlled by a combination of battery and generator back-up systems. The loss of power in these areas is critical to our operations. The telephone equipment should have a hard line back-up which bypasses the electronic phone switch. A cellular phone / Nextel phone should also be incorporated into this communication system. A number of other characteristics should be incorporated into dispatch like "CAD" (computer aided dispatch), telephone phone tree, and a second public safety communication operator (dispatcher) as the "dual dispatcher" concept was originally set up but never fully implemented. A meeting / conference / training room located directly behind or to the side of communication section could double as an emergency operation center during times of crisis. The floor should be a computer type raised floor near the IT section. CCTV screen larger enough to see from across the room, and all public areas, all parking areas, all four sides of the building and the jail/prisoner areas should be covered by the system. A new audio system is needed for the jail.

     

    IT (Information Technology) Section

     

    Currently: "What Is"

    All the servers, the audio recording for the police, fire, EMS, 911 phone lines and the 800 radio system are locate in a common area. The area is also used as a coping room, storage area, and catches all area. This is also one of two areas that the phone wires come. Both of these areas are dusty and are not controlled.

     

    Needed: "What Should Be"

    Due to the cost and sensitivity of this equipment, a room should be created that could be dust free or filtered. The floor should be a computer type raised floor near the communication section. The room should be grounded and lightening resistant. The battery back-up system should also be located in this area so that communications don't go down.

     

    Mechanical Equipment

     

    Currently: "What Is"

    A number of system’s in the building are old and in desperate need of repair and/or replacement. As stated early, the natural gas system is beginning to fail and has forced the elimination of three space room space heaters, and the hot water tank last year (2007). Two of the three space heaters were serviced and placed back in service, but the third one in the records section continued to leak and as of December 2008 it was replaced. As the plumber was checking the gas system, he noted that the sewage system was leaking and was going to need major repairs. The sink in the restroom located in the workroom is leaking, and the water flow coming from the other sink is getting slower due to calcium build up. The sink in the investigator’s office on the east side of the building is leaking. A number of florescent light fixtures are not working and/or are in need of repair. The rest of the electrical system has been patched more times then I can count. The generator issues were discussed in the communications section needs. The HVAC unit is not large enough to adequately heat or cool the whole building on the first floor. The HVAC unit on the second floor is also not large enough to keep the second floor at a constant. During the heat of the summer, the unit was set at 73 degrees and as the day went along, the temperature on the second floor just continued to rise and the unit was unable to maintain the 73 degree temperature. The interior of the building is plagued with health hazards like lead base paint which is peeling from walls, rat droppings and other vermin, asbestos in the floor covering, mold, and a closed ventilation system which does not allow fresh air into the building. The restrooms have no ventilation to the exterior of the building. The sewage line from up stairs has failed from time to time and raw sewage has spilled onto the servers and on the floor just outside the evidence room area. There is no smoke detector in any portion of the building with the exception of the jail. There is a fire extinguisher near the evidence room and one in the jail area, but none up stairs; records section, or the front offices. There are electrical wires in a number of areas which are exposed, uncovered, or electrical systems which are simply not safe or up to code. There are plugs and lights switches which are near water or wet sources which should have a GFCI breaker or a GFCI plug. Some of the GFCI plugs do not trip when tested.

    Needs: "What Should Be"

    We need a building up to code and health standards.

  • A larger generator which can handle a greater portion of the building during times of emergencies.

  • An HVAC which can handle the whole building in a more efficient manner

  • Repair or replace the sewer and gas lines

  • An air exchange unit to allow fresh air into the building due to the windows being fixed

  • Rewiring the building so critical parts of the building continue to function during power failures

  • Restrooms that are vented per code

  • Break Room/Kitchen Area

     

    Currently:  "What Is"

    There is no kitchen and/or no separate area for employees to eat meals. The refrigerator, coffee pot, and microwave are located in the general office area, which makes the area cramped and unsanitary. This area also sits just outside the restroom for staff. The restroom is also not vented. A kitchen area is located in the jail, but it is rarely used and is a safety concern to the staff (see jail comments) There is  hot water to wash hands, dishes, etc…

     

    Needed:  "What Should Be"

    A separate room is needed with a sink and a table and chairs for employees to eat meals and/or just take a break. 

     

    Restrooms

     

    Currently:  "What Is"

    There is one generic restroom for each area. 

    • One for the public – lobby area

    • One for all the staff – workroom area

    • One for investigation – in one of the investigator’s office

    • One for the chief – his office

    • Only one for all of up stairs

    • One in the jail booking area

    None of these restrooms are ventilated nor have hot water to wash our hands with the exception of the jail restroom. The restroom in the workroom area has been restricted to #1 business only because of the odor going straight into the HVAC/ventilation system and then distributed to the rest of the building.

     

    Needed:  "What Should Be"

    Separate men and women restrooms are needed at least in the common staff areas and the public areas.

    • Each of these restrooms needs to be handicap accessible

    • Hot water to wash your hands.

    • Designed with tile floors and walls for easy maintenance

    • Vented to the outside of the building as per current building code

    Storage Areas

     

    Currently:  "What Is"

    There is one secure storage closet in the building. This closet is an old vault approximately 8’ x 4’ in diameter. This small storage area is basically used for the storage of targets and firearms ammo. There are other areas that are used for office supplies storage, but this area has no security features to it. The next area used for storage is up stairs. All the records that are required to be kept by law for 5, 10, and 25 years are kept in this area. This area also is not secured, but due to its isolated location run the risk of being taken. Trustees and employees have been caught looking at these records in the past. The records in this area range from ex-employees, arrest reports, incident & offense reports, and general records, all which are concerned confidential in nature. Some of these reports at time have come up missing. The last area of storage is the old fire department. This area is used for large items that will not fit in the evidence, storage cabinet, or just no place for it in the building. This area also has no type of security and items have gone missing from here too. This area also is used by more then just the police department. At times this area is used for processing large evidence like cars, trailers, ATV’s, etc… Because this area has a lot of space, we have used it for training as well. Other miscellaneous equipment is stored throughout the building in random areas. 

     

    Needed:  "What Should Be"

    Additional space is needed to organize and store equipment, firearms, and ammunition, office and computer supplies. This could be accomplished by creating a large area and then use the heavy wire cage material as done by the military in their storage/supply rooms. The room could then be monitored via CCTV in dispatch.

     

    Locker Room

     

    Currently:  "What Is"

    We have some lockers for our employees, but we do not have per say "Locker Room" in our facility. We also only have 29 lockers for 32 employees. Some lockers are used as secured storage for the shift.

     

    Needed:  "What Should Be"

    A  room is needed to provide lockers for each employee. This will include a seating/dressing area, shower facilities, and a separate area for female employees. 

     

    Weight / Work-out Equipment Room

     

    Currently: "What Is"

    We have a small weight or work-out room, but no shower facility to clean up after a good workout. Insurance companies, major corporations, and researchers, etc… all agree, if an employee works out they are less prone to get injured, and if injured, recover much quicker then those that don’t workout or exercise. These transfers to less loss of work time, lower workmen's' comp claims and a safer working environment for all. Workout equipment was purchased by the fire department for both police and fire personnel but sits in a bay at the fire department, not very user friendly for the police personnel for the reasons stated above. In the summer it is hot as Hades and in the winter it is cold as Alaska. This is why you see these gyms around town in a building, not on a car port! That is not a proper workout environment.

     

    Needed: "What Should Be"

    A workout room with the necessary workout / training equipment would be nice.

     

    Jail Area

     

    Currently: "What Is"

    The current jail was constructed in 1992 to replace the older jail which was not up to code. The older jail had a number of legal issues as well. The current jail has a number of issues which were not addressed when it was constructed back in 1992. Also a number of life and safety codes were not in affect back in 1992 which are in 2011. The current prisoner booking room is not a secure room, poor layout with very limited space. It gives unruly and combative prisoners access to the administrative area and potentially to the rest of the PD. The room is not physically conducive to officer safety and does not flow with proper and correct prisoner handling methods. The old jail had 12 beds for males and no beds for females; the newer jail has 10 beds for males and 2 beds for females. The older jail had three doors before hitting freedom, the newer jail has one. The older jail did not have air conditioning the newer one does. The newer jail was constructed to address a number of other issues and it did, but it also created some new ones. The booking area is small. If you are processing more then 3 persons at one time in the booking area, everyone is bumping into one another. The Draeger® instrument is sitting basically in front of the door to the male cell area. The desk to complete the booking process is sitting in front of the finger print station. A kitchen was added to this jail, but it is not secured. The result is knives and other kitchen utensils are in quick access to anyone who was attempting to escape or assault staff. These items are also available to trustees if the jailer or the officers are not closely monitoring these persons. A sally port was added to this jail which has helped greatly, but it is small. Only one vehicle at a time can use it. Because you can not keep prisoners locked down all the time, to allow them to come out for some fresh air from time to time, they have to be leg shackled or just let out under close supervision which does not work all the times. The cell area is greatly improved, but it is a small facility. The drunk tank is designed to hold two male prisons, and at times we have more then that. The cells are hard to get someone out of if they refuse to cooperate with the staff. Also, by law a separate area to hold juveniles is needed since sight and sound separation is required. We don’t hold juveniles routinely, but it has happened in very rare cases. The windows, lighting fixtures, cameras, and smoke detectors are all to low which allows the prisoners to mess with them. The CCTV system for the jail does not give you a clear view of the whole jail. Two of the cells are out of camera view on the male side as well as the door area to get into the cell area. On the female side, the cells are not visible at all. The booking area and the sally port have fairly good coverage by the CCTV system. There is a kitchen and interview room in the jail area and both are rarely used and in fact the interview room has turned into a storage room. We have had some roof leakage and some major repairs have just been finished. In late 2008, the HVAC unit needed to be replaced at a cost of over $8,000.

     

    Needed: "What Should Be"

    We need a larger booking area and jail facility. A three tier security system – Three tier means secure cells, secure booking area, secure perimeter. To get out or in to each area you need a key or pass code or proximity card/key. A prisoner can not just run out once outside the cell area. A two plus vehicle sally port. (4) Individual detention/holding cells which are separate from the main jail area for closer supervision, medical isolation, violent juvenile holding, etc… More considerations should be given on the camera system which capture all of the jail area. A non-contact visitation area for visitation without supervision. A secure outside exercise yard / evacuation area to comply with federal law. Booking counter w/ plastic property bins and/or lockers for the inmate's property.

     

    If the following conditions continuing to occur in the City of Jacksonville;

    Increasing population for the City of Jacksonville

    Increasing police jurisdiction

    Increasing student enrollment at Jacksonville State University

    The decline in federal funds.

    We have and are going to see an increase in calls for service, arrests and incarceration in the city jail, etc…, without the proper facilities, we are going to have a much tougher time recruiting new employees, projecting a positive image to our community, and in some cases lose criminal cases due to the evidence being lose, destroyed or improperly being handled / secured. The city could incur certain liability issues either by failing to;

  • Comply with;

  • o Health issues

    o Security issues

    o Environmental issues

    o Building code violations

    o Providing a safe working environment

  • Comply with ADA laws

  • o Ramps

    o Hand rails

    o Restroom facilities

    o Automatic door opener

  • Legal

  • o Privacy issues

    o Safety for the public

     

     

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