Idaho Falls Police unveils new complex - East Idaho News

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Idaho Falls Police unveils new complex

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Idaho Falls police officers, Mayor Rebecca Casper, current and former City Council members, and representatives from Ormond Builders, Architects Design Group/NBW Architects and the city participate in the ribbon cutting for the new police complex. You can watch the full ceremony in the video above. | David Pace EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho Falls Police Department celebrated the grand opening of the brand-new Idaho Falls Police Complex at 775 Northgate Mile Tuesday.

The two-story, $30 million complex is now open for operations. Officers have been unpacking the final boxes brought over from the aging station next to the Bonneville County Courthouse.

But the commemoration was marked by a somber note.

“In the coming days, we’re going to release some videos of Idaho Falls finest under extreme duress, acting with courage and with honor,” Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson said. “There have been three attempts to shoot and kill Idaho Falls police officers in the past four months.

“Eight Idaho Falls police officers have been under fire in the past four months — that’s 8% of the department,” he said. “To put that in context, about one out of every 10 police officers in Idaho Falls is taking incoming gunfire. You will not find a department (of our size) in the country that has that statistic right now, … and they’ve just responded phenomenally.”

Chief Johnson
Chief Bryce Johnson discusses the heroics of local police officers in recent weeks. | David Pace EastIdahoNews.com

The new complex stands as a monument to current, previous and future law enforcement. Today’s Idaho Falls Police force consists of 101 authorized positions for police officers, according to IFPD spokeswoman Jessica Clements.

The facility is centrally located in the city — bringing security, stability and a signal for redevelopment along Northgate Mile.

“The building here is right in the center of our heat map where most of our calls are, so our response time is going to be highly improved,” Johnson said.

He took the media on a tour of the facility Tuesday morning, prior to a ribbon cutting with invited dignitaries and the public.

The new complex triples the space where the department can hold evidence.

The first floor includes a public lobby with “three private interviews rooms for report taking,” fingerprinting, records, an 80-person community room/training classroom, detective space, administrative offices, an internal investigation room, digital forensics lab, Faraday room and more, according to a city pamphlet.

On the bottom floor, the new facility contains three interrogation rooms, evidence rooms, vehicle examination bay, an auction/destruct room, firearms storage, narcotics storage, public evidence return room, a workout room, officers’ break room, lockers and 10 changing rooms/showers.

New IFPD weight room
Chief Johnson relates the importance of physical fitness for the readiness and mental health of Idaho Falls police officers. | David Pace EastIdahoNews.com

The auxiliary building features a training facility with mats for virtual reality and martial arts training, unmanned aircraft systems room, SWAT team briefing room and lockers, bomb robots, vehicle bays, mobile field force storage and a quartermaster room.

Together, the two buildings contain 61,000 square feet of interior space, Clements said.

During the ribbon-cutting remarks, Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper also touched on Johnson’s theme of the daily sacrifices and dedication required of the city’s police force.

“Our officers must and quite literally do have each other’s backs in times of peril,” Casper said with emotion in her voice. “I cannot tell you how touched I was to see an officer’s recent body cam video, when in a moment of crisis with high intensity, one officer reached out and put his hand on the back of his colleague who was holding the bulletproof shield, and then the officer behind that officer reached out and placed his hand on the other officer’s shoulder. … Later in that chain of events, bullets were fired, shots were fired. If not for the shield, injury would have occurred.”

Casper noted the facility is named the Idaho Falls Police Complex, not a police station or even a police headquarters.

“It’s the first standalone police facility that the city has ever had,” she said. “… I can say that having nearly all the team assembled in one location will increase efficiency.”

No taxes were raised to construct the complex. Funding for the new facility was raised with certificates of participation at a 1.89% interest rate, the mayor said.

RELATED | City breaks ground on future Idaho Falls Police Complex

Mayor Rebecca Casper
Mayor Rebecca Casper addresses the audience during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Idaho Falls Police Complex. | David Pace EastIdahoNews.com

“This funding mechanism allows the city to make payments for the new facility from the existing tax base and revenues from impact fees,” according to a city news release.

Over the years, the police department has been housed in a coal house on Park Avenue and with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office adjacent to the courthouse, according to a city pamphlet. Its former cramped facility required the department to spread across seven separate buildings throughout town.

The dispatch center will remain on Grandview and Skyline Drive, and the officer’s shooting range is located west of town, although city officials hope it can be relocated to the Idaho Falls Police Complex in the future.

Mantis system
School Resource Officer Jamie Santos practices target shooting with the Mantis laser system while Sgt. Jason Hendrian oversees. | David Pace EastIdahoNews.com

“The current employees of the Idaho Falls Police Department — the police officers, the detectives, the dispatchers, records people, code enforcement, animal services, admin assistants, all of our support people — they are statistically and by far the hardest working, most productive and efficient employees this city and police department ever had,” Johnson said.

“… They have done amazing things with facilities that were a little bit less than ideal,” he added. “I’m so excited to see what they’re going to accomplish over the next coming years.”

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