Newest police station operating

Southern District officers get more space, amenities

Anne Arundel

December 11, 2003|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

One hundred police officers and one bathroom. Fifty-eight square miles to cover and just 5,000 square feet of work space.

More often than not, the numbers at Anne Arundel County's Southern District police station just didn't add up.

That has all changed with the opening of its new $5 million, 15,000-square-foot building in Edgewater. Yesterday, County Executive Janet S. Owens and Police Chief P. Thomas Shanahan toured the station, which took more than 18 months to complete and features a "green roof."

"This has all the room and tools we need for modern-day policing," said Shanahan.

The new Southern District station was built adjacent to a post office on North Stepneys Lane, amid a colony of new homes and businesses. It's about two miles from the old building - a converted early 1900s town hall just off Route 2.

The county hadn't built a new police station since 1988, when officers moved into Western District in Odenton. There are four district police stations in addition to county police headquarters in Millersville.

The Southern District serves 75,000 residents in what has become a fast-developing area of the county. The Parole area posted more calls for service last year than any other area of Anne Arundel County.

Southern District's 100 sworn officers began operating out of the new station Friday.

Mixed feelings

Capt. Thomas Rzepkowski, commander of the Southern District, said they had mixed feelings about leaving a building that police had occupied since 1949.

"There was some nostalgia," he said. "But we also recognize that it's time to move on."

Move up is more like it.

In addition to tripling the work space, the new building gives officers more modern amenities than they had at the old station.

With its cathedral ceilings, wood beams and exposed brick walls, the interior has the feel of a ski resort.

Huge picture windows at the roofline allow sunlight to stream in, and on cloudy days, there are plenty of modern light fixtures to do the job.

Electronic monitoring

The holding cell area is outfitted with video and audio monitoring equipment. (The electrical system in the old station couldn't even support security doors.)

And there are plenty of restrooms.

Whereas the old building had no shower or locker facilities and only a single toilet, the new one has men's and women's locker rooms.

The so-called "green roof" incorporates plants that absorb and filter rainwater. Owens called the new station an "extraordinary building," and said the roof should save money in the long run. It is believed to be the only police station in the country with such a roof.

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