New public safety departments coming to Beech Grove

(WISH Photo)

BEECH GROVE, Ind. (WISH) — The city of Beech Grove will see some big changes in the near future. The city council recently approved planning to begin for new police and fire departments.

Both departments say they have run out of room and need more space to better serve the community.
“There’s a stark difference in the demands of the public [and the current station size], and we have to adapt to it,” said Beech Grove Mayor Dennis Buckley.

Back in 1973, when the Beech Grove Police Department was built, the department ran less than a thousand times a year. In 2017, the department is expected to make more than 24,000 runs. The building on Churchman Avenue is filled beyond capacity.

“We have storage in hallways,” Beech Grove Police Chief Mark Swartz said. “We have workout rooms in hallways; we have paint that’s falling off the wall, mold. It’s just not a good working building anymore.”

The room where roll call and meetings are held is the same room where they eat lunch. They eat on the same table that is used to count recovered drugs.

“To finally get a building that will meet the police department’s needs and the city’s needs will be really nice to see,” Swartz added.

The fire department struggles with the same issue.

“We’re completely maxed out,” John Bishop with the Beech Grove Fire Department said. “Even if we wanted to add additional manpower, we don’t have the space to do it whatsoever. No bed space, no in between run space, guys to just sit and recline in between calls and training.”

Almost 40 years ago the fire department on Albany Street was built. It may have done 750 runs back then, but now they’re averaging about 5,000 runs annually.

The Mayor said the changing of the times is the reason for the increase in demand.

“Twenty years ago we wouldn’t talk about heroin,” Buckley explained. “We wouldn’t talk about domestic violence. We wouldn’t talk about any of these things, but now we do. We have to adapt to it because this is our life now.”

It has not been determined where the new stations will be or when they are expected to be completed. The process is still in the very early planning stages.

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