Bainbridge Island is home to a police department and a fire department for its emergency services. Recently, unofficial talks between the fire department and police have given rise to an idea that could solve two problems.
The idea: one building for police and fire departments.
Bainbridge Island Fire Chief Hank Teran has had conversations with city officials in the past about the possibility of creating a shared public safety building. The facility would house both a fire department and police station.
The chief said he has recently been encouraged with the early response of city officials to the idea.
The police station on Winslow Way and Highway 305 has received criticism for its age as well for being set apart from other city services.
Teran noted that a shared building could offer benefits to both departments, but it is too early to know what such benefits could be.
“You can have a common fitness area, lockers, meeting rooms,” Teran said, further noting that to get into too many details would be very premature at this time.
“It’s just a conversation,” he said. “We want to see if there’s interest in a public safety building. We want to ask the questions, so at least we can say to the public that we asked.”
“We need to at least talk and see if there is anything that can be done that is a benefit to us and the city,” Teran said.
Teran did not specify whether such a building would be new or converted from existing facilities.
The idea was mentioned by Teran at a recent board of commissioners meeting. The conversation with commissioners centered on strategic planning and funding for the future of the fire department.
The commission was intrigued by the idea and wanted to explore it further.
“I think it’s a fabulous idea and I would like to have it as an action item,” said Fire Commissioner Dan Morrow.
City Manager Doug Schulze agreed that the idea could be promising.
“The discussion was about potentially looking at an existing fire station site, replacing the existing building with a new building, and it would be a shared facility,” Schulze said.
But before the idea can take root, the city has to consider what to do with the police station it currently has, and what to do with the site it currently occupies.
“It’s too valuable of a site to have a city facility on it,” Schulze said. “With the art museum and the Waypoint, that’s the one leg of the intersection that needs some attention.”