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IFPD honors Melaleuca CEO with special award for donating space to department

Idaho Falls

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Frank VanderSloot, left, and Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson pose for a photo immediately following the award presentation. Watch the award presentation in the video player above.

The following is a news release from Idaho Falls Police Department.

IDAHO FALLS – On Thursday, October 10th at the Idaho Falls City Council Meeting, the Idaho Falls Police Department presented a Community Partner Award to locally grown and based company, Melaleuca. The award was presented by Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson and accepted by Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot.

This special award recognizes a major donation that Melaleuca recently made in support of the IFPD. In late 2018, Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot reached out to the Idaho Falls Police Department with an offer. Recognizing that the department was facing an extreme shortage of physical space, Melaleuca offered IFPD the use of 3,500 square feet of downtown office space located in the same building as the Melaleuca Product Store for a two-year time period at no cost to the department or City. Further, Melaleuca offered to cover the cost of all utilities over the next two years in this space as well as some of the renovation costs to meet department needs.

“While this is not a permanent solution, it is one that allows us to address a few immediate quality of life and operational issues at the department,” said Idaho Falls Police Chief Chief Bryce Johnson. “We are grateful to Frank and Melaleuca for recognizing our need and for graciously offering space to help alleviate some of those needs while more permanent options are pursued.”

This is the inaugural Idaho Falls Police Community Partner Award. The award is intended for community members who, because of a desire to support the Idaho Falls community, in a significant way support the furtherance of public safety, police operations, and/or the overall goals and mission of the Idaho Falls Police Department. These businesses, organizations or individuals distinguish themselves as partners and friends of public safety and the Idaho Falls Police Department through their actions and deeds. The Department hopes to present more of these such awards in the future to recognize many outstanding community partners in our area.

“Our local police should be heroes to all of us,” said Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot. “Their lives are tough enough without having to work without adequate space and resources. We had some extra space. It’s the least that we could do to make it available to them.”

Because the space is not viable for most police functions, options were identified for use of the space
which could alleviate some of the constraints currently facing the department.

Conference room donated by Frank VanderSloot | Courtesy IFPD

This summer, the Idaho Falls Police administrative offices moved from the Bonneville County Law Enforcement Building into the space donated by Melaleuca. The space includes several offices, a small conference room, and restrooms. While it is physically attached to the Melaleuca Product Store, Idaho Falls Police Officers and staff have their own entrance and the space is not accessible from the Melaleuca Product Store. Those wishing to visit the Melaleuca Store will continue to utilize the normal entrance on Capital Avenue.

In addition to providing workspaces for administrative personnel, the space is utilized for meetings that do not fit in the other existing buildings. It also offers much needed storage space, and two rooms have been converted to “mat rooms.” The mat rooms are utilized by officers for defensive tactics training and mimic the close quarters and structural confines that often exist when an officer is required to utilize defensive tactics to protect themselves and others, and to subdue a combative subject. Previously, there were no spaces regularly available for this type of training.

This donation also assists the department in other ways as the space freed up in the other buildings will be reutilized for other purposes. At the Bonneville County Law Enforcement Building, four offices were vacated and are in the process of being repurposed. One office will be re-designated as a “Soft-Interview Room”, which will be used to conduct interviews with witnesses, victims of crimes, and children.

Previously, the only space designated for interviews were the interrogation rooms which are not appropriate for these types of interviews. Instead, these interviews have had to be held in a multipurpose briefing room which is in high demand and often double booked. It also acts as a pass-through to three areas in the department, and is a high traffic area. If that room is unavailable, interviews by necessity have been conducted in hallways, the courthouse lobby, or other staff offices who step out of their work space while the interview is conducted. This “Soft-Interview Room” will give officers a private and designated space in which to conduct these very sensitive and personal interviews.

The remaining three offices are in the process of becoming a break room, which previously has not existed for Idaho Falls Police Officers and staff. Previously, a microwave and mini fridge tucked into the patrol report room have served as the “break room” for approximately 90 sworn officers, most of whom work at least 12-hour days, as well as other civilian staff. Meals or breaks are taken in cars or at computer desks because of the lack of any other space to do so. The space vacated from staff moving to the offices donated by Melaleuca will include a fridge, microwave, sink, as well as a small table and chairs. This will give officers and staff a place to have a meal and a moment to relax before going back to their shifts.

The donation of this space is being offered on a guaranteed basis until 2021. Alternate arrangements will need to be made eventually. Currently, the Idaho Falls Police Department is spread between eight different locations around the city, with staff on a day to day basis at six of those locations. Members of the community needing to pick up a police report, have their fingerprints taken for a background check, or who need to walk-in to report a crime should go to the IFPD desk in the Bonneville County Law Enforcement Building located at 605 N. Capital Avenue. For previously scheduled appointments with the Chief of Police, Idaho Falls Police Officers, Detectives or other department staff, instructions for which building to go to will be given when that appointment is set.

Chief Bryce Johnson, right, presenting Frank VanderSloot with the first-ever Community Partner Award. | Courtesy IFPD

EDITOR’S NOTE: In 2015, Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot provided the seed money to launch EastIdahoNews.com. For a short time, he was an owner. He has never had anything to do with the operations of EastIdahoNews.com. Nearly two years ago, he totally divested his ownership.

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