Murray County LEC moving right alongSLAYTON – Outside the Murray County Law Enforcement Center (LEC), things look pretty quiet, but inside, it’s as busy as a beehive. Electricians, telephone line installers, carpenters and construction workers are all hard at work.
SLAYTON – Outside the Murray County Law Enforcement Center (LEC), things look pretty quiet, but inside, it’s as busy as a beehive. Electricians, telephone line installers, carpenters and construction workers are all hard at work.
Scheduled for completion Feb. 1, the new construction and remodel of the LEC is moving forward at a quick pace, and parts of it are already being used. The dispatch area, which underwent some major changes, is open, bright and user-friendly. According to dispatcher Jannette Engels, the newly remodeled room is comfortable and isn’t as confining as it used to be.
“They did an amazing job for us,” she explained, demonstrating desks that raise and lower with the touch of a button, foot pedals used to key microphones and mapping software that allows dispatchers to see where a call is coming from. “I can stand here to do my job, or sit if I want, and you feel more mobile. I appreciate that we’re moving around, and not just sitting.”
The remodeled area also includes a room that houses all of the computers and equipment for the ARMER radio system, a locker room/shower area, laundry facility and fingerprinting room.
In what was formerly Sheriff Steve Telkamp’s office, a secure room for Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) work will be arranged. The jail cells and sally port are still in place, but the old deputy room is gone, as is the evidence room.
A new evidence storage area was added in the new construction, in the basement. A secure cage envelopes a large space, which Chief Deputy Randy Donahue said will be very helpful.
“Evidence areas fill up fast,” he explained. “We have to retain evidence through court proceedings and as far as a court of appeals process, so some of it we may have to sit on for six or seven years.”
A staircase leads down to the evidence room, but there is also an elevator for moving big items. The basement will also house new HVAC equipment and the computers that will keep the LEC and courthouse balanced and will keep heating and cooling costs down. There’s also water quality equipment, plus the basement can serve as a safe area during dangerous weather conditions.
“Last year during the fair, we had to warn people to get indoors, then realized we really didn’t have anywhere to put them,” Donahue said. “Now we’ve got a shelter if that ever happens again.”
The new construction upstairs contains offices for the sheriff, chief deputy, jail administrator and drug task force, plus a large deputy area that will house up to eight workstations. There is a break room, an interview room and a conference area. Donahue, whose office for the past several years has been a large closet in the courts area, is happy with his new space.
“All of the staff is really looking forward to the move, which will take place in mid-February,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming – three years of it being planned, then tabled.”
The door to enter the main lobby isn’t very far from the old entrance, but anyone who stops in after the construction is complete will see a very different look. An open hallway leads to a reception area, where people can talk to a receptionist during business hours Monday through Friday.
“The sheriff was adamant about making this a comfortable work environment for all of the staff,” Donahue said. “There is plenty of storage space so we can have everything in-house. We have all the tools we’ll need to do our job.”
Once the decision to go ahead with the project was made, everything was done right, Donahue said. No cutting corners, and a building that is made to last the county for many years to come.
“It is hard to know what the next 20 years will bring, but as the department grows or the work of the department changes, this building will continue to serve the public well.”
Telkamp said it has been exciting to watch the project move forward and gratifying to see an aggressive construction timeline stay on schedule.
“We really want to thank the public for their patience as we’ve worked at this. The public has been very accommodating as we have had to shift things around to keep construction going,” he said. “The license center is back in its own room now, and the state was very helpful in allowing us to use that area for a time.”
An open house that will allow the public to view all of the changes will be planned for sometime in the spring.