In a local book called “An Island in Time,” Ted Spearman described his first experiences on Bainbridge Island.
“I grew up in Yakima and left the state in 1966,” Spearman said. “After we lived in different places, we moved to Bainbridge in 1983 after living in Detroit, Michigan. When we first moved to the island, you couldn’t even get the New York Times on Sunday, there was no full-time bakery and one movie theater. Now we have those in spades.”
Spearman will be remembered for a long time on BI as the Ted Spearman Justice Center had its grand opening Nov. 15. The building is located at 8804 Madison Avenue and is a two-story building with approximately 18,000 square feet of space.
“I am excited to see Bainbridge Island advance its cause of justice and name it after our friend Ted Spearman,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “This building from a functioning standpoint is very important. It’s about time, and this is a step forward for justice.”
Former Gov. Gary Locke appointed Spearman to the Kitsap County Superior Court in 2004, making him the first Black judge to hold that position. He was an active member of the community, including working on the state Bar Association’s Civil Rights Committee, working on the Disciplinary Board and being a national expert in federal civil rights cases.
“Ted was such an inspiration wider than the Bainbridge community,” Inslee said. “His work helped establish better rules and protect people.”
The center is a former medical building turned into a police station, courthouse and Emergency Operations Center.
The police station will be vastly expanded. Previously, the station was an unreinforced 50-year-old building near the ferry dock. The new building will allow spaces more accessible to the public, allow residents to remain inside the building and will no longer be used to interview victims in the same spaces used for suspects in custody.
“Our old facility fulfilled its purpose but its time has come and gone and looking forward to having a modern police department,” police chief Joe Clark said.
The former city court was housed in a temporary storage building for 30 years. The new courthouse has a new goal for the community.
“The important thing about this court building is it shows important decisions are made and you can be heard,” city manager Blair King said. “The last building did not have that feeling. This does convey that people can be heard and cases can be weighed.”
Lastly, the Emergency Operations Center used to be in a closet at City Hall. It would take at least an hour to set the center up each day, causing delays if help was needed. The new center will be a huge upgrade. “When this was first envisioned, the emergency center was not a part of it,” Emergency Management coordinator Anne LeSage said. King “knew we should include some space for the emergency operation center. Having a standalone EOC is critical for us to move our planning processes forward.”
The center will be used as a destination center if a disaster strikes.
In addition to the new facilities, the justice center takes pride in other features. The artwork, titled “Peers” and created by Shawn Parks, creates a sense of space and place. The mindset is to allow people to know important things happen at the location.