MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- About two years of work and one tornado later, the Marshalltown police and fire departments are moving into their new joint facility.
Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer said voters approved a $17.5 million bond to build the facility and shortly after they started work in the summer of 2017.
“This is a building that’s going to serve our community well for the next 50 years, probably longer, so we are going to get our money’s worth out of it and it’s something that the community can be very proud of,” Marshalltown Police Chief Michael Tupper said.
Marshalltown Fire Chief David Rierson said as of last week, they are still under budget. He said this facility not only has plenty of space for trucks, equipment and apparatus, it will also help them better serve the community.
“For us, we respond from this location. So this is almost in the geographical center of the city. So for us, as the city has grown south, our response times were lagging to the south part of the city. With this facility, it will bring our response times more in line with what national standards should be,” Rierson said.
Tupper said this is the first building constructed for law enforcement in the history of the city and includes storage space for evidence, training areas, a disaster safe communication center and even a small detention center.
“When we arrest somebody, we are able to bring them into a detention center that is completely secure. Our old ID facility did not allow for that level of security. So I told people often times after an officer has arrested somebody, maybe even for a violent crime, they had to sit next to them in a plastic chair while they are typing up their paperwork before they could take them to the jail,” Tupper said.
It’s also a space built with the public’s safety in mind.
“Sometimes somebody may be running from somebody or running from a scary situation. We built this safe room here so people can come in and lock themselves in this room, and once they’re inside, they can pick up a phone and talk to a 911 operator. But they can secure themselves in this room in case somebody is chasing them into the building,” Tupper said.
Greer said everyone is excited to celebrate what they see as a win-win for the community.
“The people that put their lives on the line for us and risk their lives and their safety their the ones that deserve to be here. We have two really good forces, two really good chiefs, good outreach with the public. It’s a good feeling for everybody who lives here to know that the people that are watching over them are going to be in a nice, safe place to work, and if they need to come here, they will be in a nice safe environment as well,” Greer said.
Tupper said during the transition the public doesn't need to worry about any gaps in service as they are working out of both facilities. Until they officially open the new building late Thursday or Friday, they ask that you come to the old police station to pay any tickets or make reports.