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Talent police move back to new quarters

TALENT — The police department will move back to its old location at 604 Talent Ave. on Saturday but into a renovated building more than twice its previous size.

"It's giving us more space in almost every way," said Chief Bob Rector. "With the new place we'll be able to segregate out various functions."

Voters approved an $800,000 bond measure to improve and enlarge the station in November 2006. The department has worked out of the former City Hall, 204 E. Main St., since October while the work was in progress.

"Saturday is the major move day. We have movers coming to help us," said Rector. "In an ideal world we'll be open Monday morning, but we are not going to guarantee that."

Citizens may have difficulty reaching someone on the department's administrative phone, 535-1253, while that line is moved during the weekend, but voice mail will continue to function, said Rector. In an emergency, citizens should call 9-1-1. Non-emergency calls also can be made to the dispatch center, 776-7206.

A larger, lighter and brighter reception area will be available for the public in the 4,000-square-foot building, said Rector. "The old reception area was about the size of a closet and wasn't heated or cooled. In terms of customer reception, it was not a friendly environment.

"Our patrol room was sort of a catchall work space where the officers would be doing their daily work, writing reports, handling evidence, just the entire gamut of police office work," said Rector. "It was also the same place we would bring in a victim or interrogate a suspect."

Separate interview rooms will now be available, said Detective Matt Potts, who has been with the department for three years.

"I interview a lot of victims of crimes, especially sensitive crimes. There was no privacy in the old building," said Potts. "I had to interview in the patrol room or the chief's office and move the chief."

Computer networking equipment will no longer be in administrative spaces. There will be separate storage areas for equipment, evidence and property, and records will no longer be stored in a separate, outside unit. Meeting rooms also have been added.

Staff worked closely with Pivot Architecture of Eugene, which designed the addition and renovation. Pivot had served as architect for the Talent Civic Center that opened last year.

Sheets Construction of Salem performed the work. The project is on budget, said Rector.

The department has nine sworn officers: the chief, a sergeant, a corporal and six patrol officers, one of whom performs detective duties. There's also a full-time code enforcement officer, a full-time clerk and a half-time clerk. In addition, the city has a reserve officer program.

"Every employee and volunteers we have are going to reap the benefit of the new facility," Rector said.

An open house is planned from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 19.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboom8929@charter.net.