HEARNE, Texas — Police officers with the City of Hearne have finally moved into their new headquarters downtown and invited KRHD News for an exclusive inside look at the facility. It’s been one year and four months since ground was broken on the public safety building, which houses space for the city’s police, firefighters, courts and dispatch center.
While the fire department is still preparing the move from their old station, police officers have been operating out of the 27,000 square foot space for the past month.
"This is a dream for a small agency, a small city," said Miguel Vasquez, Hearne PD assistant police chief. "The city has really set us up for success.”
Each officer has his or her own cubicle and computer to work from. Narcotics and other items of evidence, once kept either in lockers or shed spaces, can now be deposited though a secure system of organization. People brought into custody can be held in a clean and secure cell.
"We’re excited about new policy and new procedure we will be able to implement, to just bring things together," Vasquez said. "... What we do is take best practices, and we don’t re-invent the wheel by bringing in our own. So we look at other agencies that are our size and accredited, and we develop something that fits Hearne Police Department.”
Currently Hearne PD is fully staffed with 12 full-time officers. As the population expands in Hearne, Vasquez said his department now has the space to accommodate new officer positions.
The public safety building has been a passion project for City Manager John Naron, who was happy to announce that the building process did not exceed budgetary plans.
"We did have a contingency, and we’re only about 30 to 40 percent into that," Naron said. "And we’re going to come in to a price that’s under the expected contingency... We are very happy with the counsel that they made the decision, and the people voted on it when they did, because we did save quite a bit of money.”
This building stands in stark contrast to the former police station, where structures crumbled and wild animals made their way into the officers’ restroom.
"There are no opossums!" Naron said, chuckling. "We have the old jail in the back that we’re going to turn into a little museum, and I guess if there is an opossum, he can go live in there and we’ll be okay with it,. But he needs to stay out of the new building!"
The city plans to formally introduce the building to the public with an open house ceremony, set to take place by the end of the month.
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