Officers with the Wadesboro Police Department are working to put the finishing touches on their new building.
The department was housed along with the town’s fire department across from the town hall. It has now moved to a former doctor’s office on Rutherford Street.
Town manager Alex Sewell said that the 2014 Space Needs Assessment and Facility Programming Study done of the fire and police building showed that the police department had 2,501 of “usable” square footage, including the separate detectives’ building behind the Tollison building.
The new department has more than twice that with 4,658 sq. feet in the main department building and 1,825 sq. feet in a separate storage building.
Before, guests would walk into the fire department’s vehicle bay to talk with the dispatcher. Now, visitors enter a lobby with chairs and a desk where a secretary can immediately see who is coming in, improving the department’s security, according to Officer Thomas Luckey.
Doors leading to halls and offices adjacent to the lobby will be locked in general, and the building’s windows are tinted, boosting security.
Officers now have a small kitchen area with a refrigerator and table where they can take meal breaks.
“This allows us to eat healthier because we can bring our own food rather than have to rely on fast food twice a day,” Luckey said.
The evidence room was also upgraded, containing three to four times more storage space than the previous one, according to Luckey.
“The laws put more and more criteria on how long we have to store things, so now we have more space,” he said.
There are a few other small storage rooms in the building, as well as an office for the secretary, an office for the chief, a shared sergeants’ office, a room for law enforcement officers from outside agencies who need a space to work, a detectives’ room, an interview room with a camera, a meeting room and more.
The new building also has no mold or mildew. Officers also no longer have to worry about the bathroom ceiling leaking.
The new building isn’t perfect, however. Chief Thedis Spencer said that the flooring needed replaced, walls painted, the heating and air system worked on, wires for the cable run and much more. But it is gradually coming together, largely through volunteer work.
“The chief has taken this place and made it his own home,” Luckey said. “I can’t emphasize enough the work that Chief Spencer, Captain Brandon Chewning and Lt. Steven Kelly have put in, not to mention the others.”
Spencer was quick to credit others with the transformation.
“A lot of officers did the work to save the town a lot of money,” he said. “People in the community also stepped up.”
Officers raised the money to install cable for visitors waiting in the lobby, and the county donated the flagpole.
“It came from the old hospital,” Spencer said. “I contacted (commissioner) Vancine Sturdivant and (county chairperson) Anna Baucom, who contacted (county manager) Megan Garner. Pee Dee Electric took it down, and volunteers painted it.”
The building has taken a lot of work, but Spencer is thankful for the space.
“We’re grateful to the town council for the work they put forth and effort of the town manager, who worked hand-in-hand with the council,” Spencer said. “We had outgrown the other police department.”
Luckey again stressed the chief’s involvement.
“I can’t begin to say how much (Spencer’s) put into making this a professional office,” he said.
Spencer hopes to open the building to the community sometime next month after he speaks with the town council during its meeting on Dec. 5.
The phone number for the department will remain the same at 704-694-2167.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.