Evidence-center decision based on cost

You've had quite a few stories on the new police headquarters, which is pretty expensive. Then recently I saw that the police want to expand an evidence control center for more than $500,000. I'm sure a lot of people are wondering why the evidence center couldn't be a part of the new police station. What's the scoop?

— Bob L., Medford

The basic answer to your question, Bob, according to police Chief Tim George, is that "it is way too expensive to add that to the police facility."

The Property Control Center in west Medford is currently 4,500 square feet, and the new 2,223-square-foot, two-story addition should cost about $500,0000. The money for the expansion was budgeted before the authorization to build the police station on Ivy Street.

George said the Property Control Center is state-of-the-art and it would have cost more to include it in the new police station design than to build the addition.

In addition to the evidence storage area, police house vehicles in a secure parking lot at the Property Control Center.

As the name implies, the Property Control Center is a place where law enforcement can check in items seized as evidence in criminal cases. To ensure the evidence isn't destroyed or contaminated, various safeguards are in place, including special lockers and rooms, temperature controls and security systems.

George said there also have to be safeguards in place to keep the property control area separated from the area where police officers conduct their business.

The 42,000-square-foot police headquarters and a parking garage are planned for Ivy and 10th streets at a cost of $21.6 million.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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