Fitting digs for RCMP

Red Deerians should be pleased to see the opening of a new police station in the City’s downtown in about six weeks.

The much-needed $30 million RCMP building is set to open its doors at the beginning of March. The two-storey, 8,000 sq. ft. detachment is located at 4602-51 Ave.

There’s no doubt it’s a huge price tag in these challenging economic times, but of course everybody counts on the police for their safety in the community so the investment is well worth it.

On a practical level, the new building offers far more space than the 40-year-old detachment police currently work from downtown across from the Red Deer Public Library. The cramped space there extends right up to the dingy front foyer, where it takes just a few people to make it seem like a crowded, ‘standing room only’ atmosphere.

According to RCMP, about 200 people drop by the facility everyday for various reasons. That, along with the 200 employees already stationed in the building makes for tight quarters.

Another plus is that the new building itself is more visible and prominent. Located off Gaetz Ave. it also allows better access for not only the public but also the steady stream of RCMP officers during their course of duties.

RCMP members, municipal support staff, plain clothes officers, victim’s services, the K-9 unit and the domestic violence unit will all be housed in the new building, which will also provide much needed cell space. The current facility only has four cells and the new building will have 15 cells.

Police say about 3,300 prisoners were brought in last year, so obviously the space is desperately needed.

On the aesthetic side, one stunning and stand-out feature of the new building from both inside and out are the murals on the windows. The portraits powerfully depict officers in various settings and eras, and add a rich, artistic touch to the building.

The structure also couldn’t be more different than the current facility in terms of space, functionality, safety and brightness with the inclusion of several large windows and an overall modern, sophisticated design.

Looking ahead, there is also plenty of room to grow as the City continues to increase both in population and in need of policing services.

Clearly, the RCMP are a very important part of our community and deserve this building and the many advantages it will provide. It will also enhance their ability in their duties while making for a safer work environment.

We really encourage the public to take the time to drop by and have a look at the new RCMP headquarters during the open house set for the first weekend in March.

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