Report: cops, court need new building

The location for the $9 million facility could be near Madison Avenue and SR305.

The Bainbridge Island Police Department should move out of its cramped downtown building into a new $9 million facility shared with the municipal courthouse, according to a recent city-commissioned study.

The best location may be the intersection of Madison Avenue and State Route 305, the report says.

The current police headquarters on Winslow Way is “functioning at maximum capacity” according to the study conducted by local architect Dana Webber. The site is also constrained by increasingly heavy ferry-related traffic while the building’s age poses numerous challenges.

“This facility is not remotely close to a professional building,” said Police Chief Matt Haney, who gave an enthusiastic endorsement of the study’s findings.

The existing 6,500-square-foot police facility was built in 1929 as a fire station. It was later used as a the Winslow City Hall and municipal court before its conversion into the police station in 2000.

The building suffers from basement flooding in the winter as well as inadequate storage, meeting space and parking, according to Haney. The study cited numerous security concerns, including a booking area that cannot prevent suspect escapes.

An expanded and improved facility would improve security, provide more room for an ever-expanding catalog of evidence and allow the department to meet basic national standards.

The courthouse, currently housed at Rolling Bay, would enjoy improved security if relocated near police in the proposed facility, Haney said.

The proposed facility on Madison Avenue would give police easy access to the highway and improve public transportation access to the courthouse.

Earlier proposals for a new police and municipal court facility had highlighted a city-owned property at Sportsman Club and New Brooklyn roads.

But Webber identified this site’s “many drawbacks,” including its close proximity to Woodward Middle School and Sakai Intermediate School.

The location would put convicted felons and sex offenders attending court near these schools. Police vehicles traveling at high speeds may also pose safety risks in the largely residential neighborhood, the study said.

The city could subdivide and sell portions of the 15-acre Sportsman Club Road property and the existing police headquarters to help pay for the new shared facility, Webber recommended.

The report was presented to the city’s Community Relations Committee this week, which will discuss its findings in the coming weeks.

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