GEORGETOWN — Visitors entering the Georgetown Police Department's new $5 million headquarters on Bourbon Street might notice two details.
On a wall to the left of the entry door is a copy of the U.S. Constitution. And in the lobby, above the door to a community room on the right, is this standard: "We do not lie, cheat or steal; we will not accept any among us who do."
Those details were intentional, Chief Mike Bosse said.
"That's the standard we hold ourselves up to," said Bosse, 56, a certified instructor in ethics training for law enforcement. When that message is outwardly expressed, he said, "People will try very hard to live up to that."
Much about the new building signals a desire to be closer to the public geographically and figuratively. It's closer to downtown. It was configured with public input. And it has a room available for use by community groups, including the Citizens Police Academy.
The department and its 50 sworn officers have just moved into the new building, which was financed through a bond issue. For the past nine years, the department occupied a former information technology building near a factory on Quality Drive, on the city's south side. It was difficult to find if you weren't familiar with Georgetown.
"We were on the outskirts of the city and, literally, there was an 8-foot fence that divided us from the nearest neighborhood," Bosse said.
To further complicate matters, second- and third-shift officers worked out of a former dress shop in the Factory Stores of America Outlet Mall next to Interstate 75. The new building puts all police department employees under one roof.
The new building offers more space to interview people in private. Three interview rooms are just off the lobby.
"When a victim came through the front door of the old place, they had to tell their story in front of a guy who was paying his parking ticket," Bosse said. "There was no place to take a citizen for a private interview."
Those interview rooms also will be used for court-ordered visitations for families affected by domestic violence or child abuse.
The Quality Drive space had no room for roll calls, so they were conducted in an open hallway. The new building has a separate room for roll calls and briefings.
Debbie Birdwhistell, a victim's advocate with the commonwealth's attorney's office, has an office inside the department so she can be closer to victims.
The new building has a fitness room that is accessible to members of the Scott County sheriff's office. Treadmills, elliptical machines and weight machines were donated by the U.S. Army through a surplus-equipment program. So were oak lockers for a locker room and gas generators, blankets, sleeping bags, tools and other supplies that would help people in an emergency. "All compliments of the surplus that would be sitting in a warehouse somewhere," Bosse said.
Lt. Philip Halley said the new building will move the department toward its goal of becoming an accredited police agency.
"In the past, it would have been difficult if not impossible to meet the criteria for that," Halley said. "There are certain standards that you have to meet, such as in evidence collection, retention and storage. You have to separate certain types of evidence in certain types of secure compartments inside the evidence-containment area. That sounds mundane, but that's a really important feature we haven't had in the past."
Speaking of evidence lockers, money was saved on that thanks to Kentucky Correctional Industries, the state program in which prison inmates make various products. The market price quoted for evidence lockers was $20,000, but KCI came up with lockers that cost $3,200, Bosse said. The lockers are used to securely pass evidence from a nonsecured area to a secured area while maintaining the chain of custody.
"It's been a long time coming, but it's a nice building," officer Tim Banta said.
Bosse said he hopes to schedule an open house in late September.