Idaho Falls Police Complex on track for completion next fall - East Idaho News
Idaho Falls

Idaho Falls Police Complex on track for completion next fall

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Construction workers lifting a beam for the Idaho Falls Police Complex. Police Chief Bryce Johnson explains what each building will be in the video above. | Rett Nelson,

IDAHO FALLS – Crews are working steadily on the Idaho Falls Police Complex, which is slated for completion next fall.

Construction on the 76,000-square-foot project got underway this spring at 701 Northgate Mile. The Idaho Falls Police Department, along with Ormond Builders and NBW Architects — the firms that are designing and building the complex — provided a tour and construction update with local media Wednesday afternoon.

The project includes two buildings. On the north side of the property is an auxiliary building, which Police Chief Bryce Johnson says will be used mainly as an indoor training space for SWAT teams and law enforcement personnel. It will also be used as storage space for equipment and police vehicles.

Most of the department’s daily operations will occur in the main building on the east side of the property. It will house detectives and interview rooms, patrol operations, a records unit, classroom space for officer instruction, administrative offices, evidence rooms and a crime lab.

“Everything that makes a police department work happens in that main building now,” Johnson tells Get a look at construction progress in the video above.

The police department also manages the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter. It will remain in the building at 2450 Hemmert Avenue. The dispatch center will also remain inside Bonneville County’s Law Enforcement Complex on Capital Avenue.

During the tour, Johnson explained what he was most excited about with this project.

“The thing I’m most looking forward to … is having the police department in one spot. If you’re talking about how we want to operate organizationally, it’s a big deal. (Right now), our detectives are physically separated from our patrol officers. That communication solves crimes and right now, we’re siloed,” says Johnson.

RELATED | City breaks ground on future Idaho Falls Police Complex

The department has never operated out of one building in its 127-year history.

The main part of the current station occupies 5,670 square feet inside Bonneville County’s Law Enforcement building, which was built in the 1970s. The department has continued to borrow and lease additional space in other buildings over the years.

Having the department under one roof is important to the city, Johnson says. Interacting with the community is an integral part of running a police department and Johnson says this project will make the entire operation more cohesive.

“Right now, to come and talk to a police officer, the first thing you’re greeted with is a mag and bag station. It’s like going into an airport. We have to search you. It’s not designed to have people come and engage with us,” he says.

Training space in the new building can double as a community room, where officers can have interaction or conduct meetings with the public. And Johnson says that’s going to resolve public engagement issues.

police complex rendering
An artistic rendering of what the completed building will look like. | Idaho Falls Police Department

A new police complex has been in the works since the 1990s, but it didn’t gain momentum until 2007. The recession brought everything to a halt in 2008. The conversation picked up again in 2017 when Johnson was sworn in and started moving forward two years later when the city purchased the property on Northgate Mile.

Arden Smith with Ormond Builders says the focus of this phase of the project is to get the shell of the building complete as soon as possible. It’s on track to be complete in November 2023.

“We’ve done a lot of projects that are close to this size, but this is a good fit for us,” Smith says.

The total cost of the project is just under $30 million, which is being funded by certificates of participation purchased by investors. It comes without any additional property tax burden to city residents.