By Emily Aamodt, Current Staff
The West Bend Police Department is always there to protect the city. Now, it’s the taxpayers’ turn to protect and serve.
After 2.5 years of planning, the West Bend Police Department finally got a much needed upgrade starting in October 2012 and ending in October 2013. Residents were invited on April 26 to see taxpayer money at work. Tours were given to show West Bend citizens the new space, technology and conveniences now readily available for officers.
“Thank you very much for your support in this building project and making it possible, especially the finance part, which was a huge obligation for the city,” said Sgt. Brian Scharinger as the first tours began.
The priorities that were addressed included improving citizen safety and security, technology, packaging and storing information, and making life easier for the control officers.
To improve citizen safety, bulletproof windows were installed around the outside of the facility to ward off violent people. Soft rooms were also built for more sensitive cases like sexual assault and lost children. These rooms enable families to be welcomed in as well as provide a more safe and comfortable environment.
“Thank you very much for your support in this building project and making it possible.”
– Sgt. Brian Scharinger
To keep up with new technological advancements, the police department upgraded its systems. New computers were added to keep track of information, as opposed to rooms stacked floor-to-ceiling with filing cabinets. Inside of the dispatch room, new monitors were added to watch the interior and exterior of the building. Reassuringly, the police department also keeps watch of nearby stores and gas stations to help prevent break-ins and robberies.
Room after disorganized room used to be packed with evidence for crime cases, but now lockers are used. Temperature-controlled and locked down, these lockers have it all, and only one officer is able to access every locker. This officer is Lieutenant Michael Hartwell, who happened to walk in as Sgt. Scharinger mentioned him.
Prior to the renovation, evidence was properly taken care of, but all officers shared the same counter for completing such tasks, which created problems of contamination. Due to the remodeling, the officers now have a much larger area to work with and have decreased the chance of contaminating evidence.
Special rooms were also built for officers who had to spread out and analyze information in a bigger setting.
To help improve the lives of the men and women serving the department, new restrooms and break rooms were added to divisions where the officers didn’t leave as often. A new storage area for the officer’s equipment and bags were expanded.
“It’s making it more easy and efficient for our officers,” Scharinger said.
(Photographs by Emily Aamodt, Current Staff.)