Annapolis police begin move into new wing of headquarters

March 15, 2006|By ANNIE LINSKEY | ANNIE LINSKEY,SUN REPORTER

After more than a year of listening to bulldozers, saws and hammers, Annapolis city police officers have finally started moving into a three-story addition to their headquarters.

"The building is quite nice - once we figure out where everything is!" said Trudy Johnson, a receptionist with the department.

Johnson's desk is at the rear entrance of the new wing - which will be the main entrance for the public until renovations are complete in the front this fall, said Capt. Greg Imhof, who is in charge of the $10 million project.

The project has two major phases - the construction of a 23,000-square-foot addition to police headquarters, and a complete gutting and renovation of the 25,000-square-foot main building.

Annapolis police moved into their current digs on Taylor Avenue in 1974. That building was renovated once in the mid-1980s, said police spokesman Hal Dalton.

The wing project includes modernized cellblocks with audio and visual monitoring, as well as electric locks triggered by swipe cards so the department can monitor where officers go and when.

But, mostly, the addition provides more space for the department's officers.

"We had long since outgrown our old police department building," Imhof said. "This is roughly doubling the size of our building."

When work is done on the main building, detectives from the department's criminal investigation division will move back into it. "That will help with coordination," Imhof said.

There is also more space for evidence, a new gym for officers and more windows.

"It used to be that police departments were built like fortresses," Imhof said.

Construction crews will cut windows in the old section to make it more airy and "customer-friendly," Imhof added.

Also, the old building will be brought up to code - it doesn't have a sprinkler system or elevators, Imhof said.

A 40-foot-by-40-foot emergency operations center is being built in the basement. That will enable the department to function in case of a natural disaster or terrorist attack, Imhof said.

Officers at all levels were a little giddy yesterday as they unpacked boxes and settled into their new offices.

"I'm installing phones," Imhof said upon bumping into a reporter in a stairwell. "I'm in charge of this mess," he quipped.

"It took me 10 minutes to find my office this morning," added Dalton, the police spokesman.annie.linskey@baltsun.com

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