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1-11-17

Police department will
remain on Main Street

by Debbie Coleman-Topi
Landmark reporter

Platte City Police Department will continue to operate from its current temporary location (pictured above) based on the recommendation of a subcommittee that met Monday night.

The Platte City Public Safety Subcommittee recommended that the board of aldermen accept their preference to delay the purchase or construction of a new operations facility for the department for at least the next two years.

A written draft of the resolution also carries a one-year extension, meaning the department will remain in the current leased facility through March, 2020.

Subcommittee members voted unanimously to recommend that city officials allow the police department to remain in the leased building, located at 355 Main Street in downtown Platte City.

The department, which includes 11 full-time police officers, one civilian employee and several reservists and part-time officers dedicated to keeping the peace in the city of about 4,800 residents.

“The police officers have definitely been very good sports about this,” D.J. Gehrt, city administrator, told subcommittee members at the meeting. “We have an extremely cooperative landlord, people can find it and we're close to the jail--downtown is hard to beat,”Gehrt said. “But, we can't keep it there forever.”

Carl Mitchell, police chief, agreed that the space is workable although inadequate in size.

“We're tight, but we're operating,” Mitchell said.

The department has been housed at the temporary space since 2013, when structural failure of the previous department location within the Civic Center at 308 Zed Martin Street forced the department's relocation.

The west and middle sections of the Civic Center continue to be used by the city to house municipal court, a public gymnasium, meeting rooms and parks department offices, said Gehrt.

However, the police department was forced to vacate the single-story east wing of the Civic Center in 2013 when workers prepared to replace worn carpeting in the building, but discovered the wooden subfloor paneling had been destroyed due to dry rot.

In 2014, the city hired an architectural firm who determined that necessary repairs to the 1938 structure would cost $500,000, which was more than the estimated costs of constructing a new facility of the same size, Gehrt said.

City officials opted for the temporary solution of entering a lease agreement with the Thalman Trust, the legal arm through which the building at 355 Main Street is managed. However, the 2,100-square-foot facility is too small to meet all needs of the department, he said.

For instance, the building lacks room for lockers, briefings, armory and evidence, training and separate interview rooms, Gehrt said.