Sunday, August 1, 2004

Police to decorate new home in Kevlar

Edgewood, Independence movin' on up

By Jim Hannah
Enquirer staff writer

Edgewood Police Chief Tony Kramer's desk sits by the old washer-and-dryer hookup. The department's evidence collection equipment is in the two-car garage. And cruisers are parked in the gravel yard of the ranch-style home.

Chief Tony Kramer stands in the spot that was his office before the city building was demolished to make way for a new facility.
(Patrick Reddy/The Enquirer)
At another police department in Kenton County, Independence Police Chief Shawn Butler's office doubles as storage. Computers and copiers blow fuses. And there is no room to interview suspects.

But everything is about to change for the two departments.

Each city is building a multimillion-dollar government center that will house police quarters. Edgewood's will have Kevlar-lined walls and bulletproof windows.

"We are not building Fort Knox here," Kramer said. "But we have to acknowledge the realities of today. We must have a secure building, but still be open to the public."

Edgewood City Administrator Roger Rolfes says providing adequate safety while still having government serve people is a balancing act.

Edgewood's $6 million, 38,000-square-foot building will house the police, fire and administration at the former city hall site on Dudley Road. A groundbreaking is set for 6 p.m. Monday. The project should be finished in September 2005.

Kramer has applied for U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant money to buy an extra security system for his agency's headquarters. Part of the grant would go to card-reader locks.

The building features a secure police station lobby. Residents will be able to enter after hours and hit a panic button if they're in trouble. Bulletproof doors to the lobby will automatically lock and a police officer will be paged.

Meanwhile in Independence, contractors are rushing to finish a new city building by Sept. 30.

The 25,000-square-foot building next to the new firehouse on Ky. 17 cost $3.8 million. The complex will house the city administration and police department.

The building will contain interview rooms, evidence storage and a fitness center, Butler said.

Dave Millward, 58, of Independence said the growing community needs the building. As president of the 93-memberCitizen's Police Academy Alumni Association, Millward helped raise $7,200 to buy fitness-center equipment.

"The current police facilities are from the Keystone Cops era," Millward said. "The building probably should have been built 20 years ago."


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