Council Sets Target Date for Police Station Move

RIDGEWAY (Jan. 29, 2016) – Town Council set a target date during their Jan. 14 meeting for the relocation of the police station from Palmer Street to the Century House on Dogwood Avenue. Council hopes to have the move completed by Feb. 28.

Before Officer Christopher Culp can make the move, however, Council is going to have to invest in some upgrades to the current Council chambers, the room they intend to dedicate to public safety. The primary upgrade will be more secure door locks, Council said, which will have to be in place before Culp can transfer sensitive files from the current police station.

During Council’s Jan. 7 work session, Culp cautioned Council that a move into the Century House could put innocent bystanders at risk in the event that a violent criminal was ever brought in during normal working hours or during a Council meeting.

“See how we’re having this meeting tonight? The police department would be here and it would be active,” Culp said during the Jan. 7 work session. “Let’s say (someone) walks in, battling mental illness, with a gun. All of our lives are in danger here, versus over there at the police department, there’s only one person and I’m trained to handle a situation like that.”

But during the Jan. 14 meeting, Councilman Donald Prioleau told Council that Culp was on board with the move.

“He had concerns from a police standpoint,” Prioleau said. Speaking with him this morning, he’s very comfortable moving in this office.”

Prioleau suggested that Council use the money generated through budgetary savings as a result of the move and from the rental of the former police station to upgrade the police department.

“You’re talking about a $17,000 savings in the budget,” Councilman Heath Cookendorfer said. “That’s money that we’re spending in the budget now, plus additional money we would get from revenue.”

Council had previously considered renting out the former police station for $500 a month, but during the work session, Cookendorfer suggested the Town could possibly get as much as $600 a month. Regardless of the price, half of it would go to Norfolk Southern Railway, according to the lease agreement the Town signed with them last year. The police station sits on Norfolk Southern property.

Cookendorfer asked that Culp present a list of the department’s needs at Council’s Feb. 11 meeting for Council to prioritize.

 

Clarification:

In many of our recent stories on Ridgeway Town Council’s proposed move of their police station from Palmer Street to the Century House on Dogwood Ave., the amount of money the Town expects to save has fluctuated as Council has debated the matter.

While each of our reported figures have been quoted directly from Council’s discussion, the Town clarified last week that they will actually save $5,700 a year in utility expenses for the Police Department and, if rented, the former police station would generate another $7,200, which would be a total savings of almost $13,000.