SOUTHPORT, Ind. (WISH) — The Southport Police Department will soon have a new home.
The city is building a $1 million facility scheduled to be open by next summer. According to the city’s mayor, their current station was built in 1969. In its nearly 50 years of existence, Southport has grown, as has its police force. The building, however, has not.
A concrete slab, filled with gravel and surrounded by building materials: it’s not much to look at, but it’s a start on the new Worman Street facility.
“It’s huge! It’s about 8,000 square feet. We have a 3,500-square-foot training center attached to that,” said Police Chief Tom Vaughn.
The new Southport Municipal Complex will house the mayor’s office, clerk treasurer, council chambers and the police department.
“We sat down and designed it so that there are safety features built into that. If something bad was to happen, we could close that area down and be able to take care of business and keep everybody safe,” said Vaughn.
The new space will feature an intake area for suspects, as well as a training center so they can train their officers and recruits. The biggest draw, however, is the space. The current building takes up less than 400 square feet.
“It’s two offices, well, an office and a closet. With 40 officers, it’s hard to get anybody in or out of there,” said Vaughn.
That closet serves as Vaughn’s office. The other room is considered the department. Vaughn says the current setup is a safety issue.
“Sometimes you can have a bad guy doing the breath test machine, and somebody getting their fingerprints done with kids coloring all in the same room. It was a big safety issue,” he said.
The city will maintain ownership of the existing building. The city plans to rent the space to nonprofit organizations and use it for space to host events. Vaughn says they looked at several existing buildings, but the price tag was too high. Southport already owns the land for the new facility. Construction is expected to cost around $1 million, paid for by tax payers.
“I think it’s great. They work together, and they have to with that small of a space,” said longtime Southport resident, Max.
Vaughn says they’re contemplating naming the training center after Lt. Aaron Allan, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in July.
The new building is expected to be completed in June of 2018.