The Charles W. Tackett Police building which houses the Sam Houston State University Police Department, has recently undergone renovations expanding the facility to enhance the police force’s efficiency.
Planning for building expansion first began two to three years ago. The actual renovations began in spring 2014 and substantial completion, as officers are still attempting to do last minute unpacking, was in late January.
Police Chief Kevin Morris shared some of these changes and improvements.
To allow for the expansion, the department of Small Business Development first had to move out of the building and across the street to University Hut.
There are now two sections to the building: parking and policing. Glass has been added to the parking section, where students handle parking permits and citations, as a safety measure for the employees that deal with upset individuals.
There are also now two separate entrances to the building for parking and policing in an attempt to avoid confusion.
The lobby in the parking section has been expanded and computers have also been made available in order to allow students to do any last minute updates, like making online payments.
There is also a shared workroom and lounge where officers now have individual mailboxes.
The patrol office has been expanded in order to allow officers more room to work comfortably. There are currently eight work stations available for use. The old patrol office was crammed in with a locker room and had about seven work stations, leaving officers in conditions that were very difficult to work in, according to Morris.
There is a screen mounted on the wall in the patrol office which, once a few more updates are made by IT, will list calls that are currently open or that officers are involved in.
One of the biggest additions is the conference room. Morris said that the building had not had a conference room for the last seven or nine years.
“This was something that was really needed,” Morris said,” Because we do a lot of training and a lot of briefings. We also have quite a few meetings. It’s worked out really well. Since we’ve brought it into use, we’ve had a number of meetings in here already.”
The conference room has also allowed UPD to hold their own interviews and presentations in a confined and private place.
There is a bust of former Police Chief Charles W. Tackett, who the building was named after, which will be placed in the foyer entrance lobby of the UPD section of the building, along with furniture that has yet to arrive.
The dispatching room has also been expanded. Due to the increase in student population, call rates have increased which may result in a second dispatcher becoming necessary making the space vital. UPD is also expecting more camera monitors to become available in that room as well as furniture that will allow the dispatchers to navigate the computers more comfortably.
The evidence room has been expanded about three times its original size. However the same secure process for accessing information and evidence is continuing to be used.
The locker room location was the same location where they had the patrol office. Once the patrol office was relocated, every officer has their own locker. The locker room also contains two large bathrooms with showers that were not available before.
“It’s helped with their morale,” Morris said. “Because we’re not working in confined conditions any more. The officers seem really happy.”
There is also another interesting addition to the renovation, besides the color scheme of the exterior of the building. If students drive by the police building at night, they will notice green lights bordering the doors of the building.
The tradition dates back to the 17th century, according to Morris, and represents the “watchmen” who guarded the city and people at night carrying green lanterns. It was a way to let the people know that they could still feel that sense of security through the night because help was available.
The idea was brought to the table by vice president for finance and operations Carlos Hernandez and was executed during renovations. Morris was very excited about the meaning behind the light and said that the goal of the department was to help those who need it.
“We are here to help students succeed,” Morris said, “So whatever we can do to help that, that’s what we’re going to do.”