The proposed facility design and contracting request for proposals will go out after the bond funding becomes available in July. After award, design and land purchase it is anticipated that actual construction of the facility will begin in 2020 and operational in 2021.

Senior citizens and disabled persons in Washington State may be eligible for property tax exemptions or deferrals. Contact the Benton County Assessor’s office for details at (509) 786-2046.

The cities General Obligation debt (general purpose, parks and utility purposes) availability is at 97%. With bond approval the city would still retain 84% of its debt capacity.

The proposed facility size is based on future growth projections and will house the police department for the long-term without having to return to voters for another bond request. The building has been deemed a “50-year build” which means that the sizing and materials will be sufficient for 50 years, including expansion if necessary.

The M.S.B. was funded through 63% Utilities Department, 30% unanticipated carryover general fund revenue and 7% Real Estate Excise tax. These funds are not permitted by law or are unavailable for a new police facility.

The Pasco facility was designed and built beginning in 2014 until they moved in the beginning of 2017. Construction costs have escalated substantially since that time. Pasco also did not include land purchase, design or all interior equipment. They have continued to designate funds to complete the interior upgrades from their general fund which West Richland cannot do. The proposed bond is for a “complete” project and is all inclusive.

The proposed new police facility requires a minimum of 3 acres with a recommended 5 acres to allow for appropriate setback. The “old city campus” is only 1.8 acres and shares the property with the Mid-Columbia Library.

The Police Facility Assessment Committee recommended that the new facility be built along Bombing Range between Paradise and Keene. Property options are currently being explored in the area of the Benton Fire District # 4 building.

More information, including a “bond calculator”, can be found on the city’s website at www.westrichland.org. There is also an informative video that highlights the challenges with the current facility. Police Chief Ben Majetich also is available to answer questions at (509) 967-3425 or bmajetich@westrichland.org.

The bond would last 29 years and is anticipated to be $0.42 per $1000 of assessed property value (or $42 per year for every $100,000 of your property’s assessed value). An estimate for the exact value of your property can be calculated here on the “bond calculator.” The cost is similar to other police facilities its size and includes land acquisition, design, construction, complete outfitting of the interior and all associated costs.

Former Police Chief Mike Noski was on record 20 years ago as saying the current facility was inadequate. Recently, a Police Facility Assessment Committee (independent of the city and police department) delivered their findings to the City Council after almost six months of work. Their recommendations mirrored those of an architectural firm, which developed plans for a larger facility.

There is only one interview room in which to question suspects. This room is not secure, and a suspect could gain access into areas where the public visits or staff works. In the case of multiple suspects, they must be held in administrative offices or the back of patrol cars with an officer present. This reduces the number of police we have on the streets.

Every work station has four police officers assigned to it. Parole officers who supervise offenders are meeting in hallways or the parking lot. Evidence rooms and weapons armories lack adequate security and are too small for the number of investigations and calls that occur each year. Community members also have requested improved kennel conditions for animal control.

A larger facility will have adequate space for daily operations to improve policing services and reduce liability for taxpayers. It will include a larger public lobby, expanded Department of Corrections (D.O.C.) services, community room and training space, secure and larger evidence room and armory, climate controlled kennels, adequate work spaces, secure interview rooms, shower facilities, secured storage and parking.

Interview Rooms – The proposed facility would have multiple rooms in which to conduct investigative interviews and question suspects. The current facility has just one, which means suspects may be kept in patrol cars or administrative offices until the room becomes available. The interview rooms also would be soundproof and secure to prevent an individual from bolting into public areas.

Shower Facilities – Police officers are exposed to blood, vomit and other toxins during routine 911 calls. Providing them with shower facilities means they can clean and decontaminate themselves at the station as opposed to taking these substances home to their families.

Armory and Evidence Rooms – The armory and evidence rooms in the police facility would meet current police accreditation standards and state security requirements. The armory would be adequately sized to securely hold and maintain weapons and other equipment needed by police officers. There also would be enough room to maintain records, store and process evidence from investigations.

Community Meeting Room and Officer Training Space – A citizen committee recommended that the new facility include training space for officers that could double as a community meeting room. Having different spaces serve multiple purposes is cost-efficient and maximizes its use.

Climate-Controlled Kennel – Community members approached City Council to express concern about the current kennel conditions for Animal Control. The proposal calls for adequate space for lost or abandoned animals in a climate-controlled environment.

Police departments are being closely scrutinized for compliance with best policing practices. The current facility is 43 years old, unsecure and too small (3040 sq. ft.) to support daily police operations. Sufficient funding for a new police facility can only be obtained through a bond. A larger facility will provide additional space for police officers to serve a growing city. Population in the city of West Richland has increased 115% in 20 years yet the current facility has stayed the same size (plus a portable trailer).

The City of West Richland is asking property owners to consider a bond to fund a larger police facility.

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