Staff preparing for opening Aug. 1

Everything's on schedule, says Sandy Police Chief Kim Yamashita. Officers and staff will move into their new state-of-the-art facility during the last weekend of July.

They'll be open for business at 8 a.m. Monday, Aug. 1.

But the first people to enter the new facility walked through the doors and into the interrogation rooms Monday night.

They were members of the Sandy City Council. They received a tour of the new facility - even though it was still in the construction stage.

They didn't know the joke was on them until the council meeting an hour later when the TV cameras were on and Yamashita gave each councilor a T-shirt.

The bright felon-orange shirts stated the person wearing it was the first jailbird in Sandy's new police station.

The two-story box-like structure has a lot of design elements in its exterior and is well landscaped, save its permeable asphalt parking lots - one for the public and one secure lot for police cars.

The police station also serves as a home for the city's AM-FM radio station as well as an emergency operations center.

Besides the radio transmitter antenna, the secure parking lot has a backup electric generator that operates on natural gas. It also has a tank of propane to use in case the city's emergency has cut off its supply of gas.

Anyone who tours the facility is likely to be impressed with the security measures employed, including 18 cameras throughout the building recording videos of all activities - even in the holding cells and interview rooms.

'The security system is really unique,' Yamashita said. 'We'll have the capability of watching several hundred cameras remotely, citywide, if we want to put cameras around the city.'

The system also allows police staff to remotely use the Internet to lock or unlock a door. And telephone alerts can be set up that inform the chief who is trying to get into a restricted area.

In the officer report-writing room, there will be eight stations. That compares to the current situation where an officer can put a laptop computer on a table in the staff break room/conference room.

The building has a storage room for all equipment except ammunition and firearms. The room has two long electrical strips to connect battery chargers.

Firearms, ammunition and anything explosive or flammable will be located in the access-restricted armory, a secure dark room with concrete walls and a metal door. A firearm repair station also is in the armory as well as locked cabinets.

The 'brains' of the electrical, computer and high-tech systems are in a secure room of their own.

The evidence processing room has two sides. On one side, officers place evidence in a two-sided pass-through locker. On the other side, the evidence technician retrieves the evidence from the locker and processes it before placing it in storage.

Fully-loaded storage units move across the floor easily by turning something like a boat steering wheel, which exerts 600 pounds of force on the storage unit for each pound of force on the wheel.

The station also has a washer and dryer as well as fully equipped men's and women's locker rooms - with lockers containing electric outlets.

There are two secure holding/interview rooms for juveniles without handcuffs, people in custody for serious crimes or those who are uncooperative. The rooms include a toilet so suspects have no reason to leave until the officer decides they are secure and ready to depart.

In its front entry, visitors first encounter a choice of elevator or staircase and direction signs to ascend to the second floor, where police staff are located.

From the upstairs lobby, visitors have access to staff behind a bullet-resistant window about 1½ inches thick. Past an unsecure interview room, everything is secure and restricted to those accompanied by staff.

In the secure area, there are interview rooms with audio-video capability, a conference room and separate offices for the office manager, two sergeants, detectives, code enforcement officers and the police chief.

The training room has a multitouch smart board similar to the board used on TV by CNN that allows moving and expanding various image windows with the touch of two fingers.

The records area also has storage units that move across the floor with the lightest touch on the wheel. They'll also have a digital fingerprinting machine.

A break room in the northwest corner upstairs has the best view in two directions through several windows.

And for those times when an officer needs to get away from the stress of the job or just needs a nap in the middle of a long all-night shift, the building offers a 'quiet room,' with a reclining chair.

Yamashita said the facility and its features surpassed her expectations, even though she previously has been involved in a couple of new installations in Washington state.

She cited 'advances in technology' as the main reason she is pleased with the results.

Police staff were heavily involved in making some of the choices for the new building, especially in the security aspects but also small details such as the color of interior wall paint and the style of furniture.

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