MAGNOLIA, Ark. (06/24/20) — The Magnolia Police Department will be relocating its office to a much larger space come next year.
It’s been a topic of conversation for over 20 years but now things are actually set in motion.
“We addressed the issue in 2011 when I took office and the building was in poor shape then but with most cities around Arkansas we’re not loaded with the cash,” Mayor Parnell Vann said.
So, they sold a monthly cell phone tower that brought in money over time and they also saved quite a bit to pay for the renovations. The building revamp will cost around $600,000 which will be paid in cash out of the police department savings fund.
The department will move to the Harvey Couch Business Park just down the street from Southern Arkansas University on U.S. 82 in Magnolia.
“We owned this building we’re now moving to, “Mayor Vann said. “When the Magnolia Economic Development Foundation dissolved, the properties came back to the city and instead of selling this property.”
The new station is about 10,000 square feet larger than their current building that’s located on Jackson Street.
According to the Magnolia Reporter, the new station will include expanded office and storage space, command room, processing room, three holding cells, training room, radio room, an officer fitness center, kitchen, break room, showers and restrooms, evidence space, multiple rooms that can be adjusted for different uses and a dog training area.
“That’s going to give us probably 50 years of growth,” Mayor Vann said. “We’re like every city in Arkansas we expect to grow.”
Chief Todd Dew believes this will help in a lot of areas because the department is currently out of operational space.
The department depends heavily on the use of other city locations for trainings and events and they utilizes the sheriff department’s space for storing evidence and equipment.
Besides the benefit of the space, Chief Dew believes the new building will really help with officer morale, recruitment and keeping officers trained.
“Training is a huge part of that,” he said. “This will allow us to bring in instructors from other places to not only teach our officers here but officers from other departments.”
There will still be enough funding to make some upgrades to the current building which will become their newest substation.
Mayor Parnell admitted there have been concerns with relocating to the outskirts of town but assures residents their response times will be no different.
“Our people are out patrolling that’s why they’re called patrol officers,” he said. “They’re not station officers. So we’re always out and about.”
The goal is to have the move completed by August 2021. They’re also hiring officers. You can contact the department for more information.