Spokane's police department wants to move out of its longtime home inside the Public Safety Building, a move that may not be the best deal for area taxpayers.
Rank and file officers were told they could expect to be in their new headquarters by this summer, although city officials say they may have put off the move until more money is available.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office and police department have occupied the same building together since 1970. The Public Safety Building took shape after voters approved construction of a centrally located headquarters for several law enforcement agencies.
It was a great way to share information and resources when it comes to fighting crime and it made sense to have detectives and prosecutors under the same roof but now the Spokane Police Department wants its own stand-alone facility and its identity.
Police Chief Frank Straub worries citizens have a hard time finding the police department on the county campus where there is very little parking and even less police department branding.
"It's critically important for our department to be not only identifiable but accessible that public that we serve," police spokesperson Monique Cotton said.
Much like the change to highly visible black and white patrol cars, Straub wants his department to be more recognizable and closer to the neighborhoods that need protecting.
"Part of the chief's vision is to increase accountability and what better way to do that than walk into a police facility at a neighborhood level," Cotton said.
However the move into an existing new building will be expensive and like a messy divorce, there could be disagreements about who gets custody of jointly owned resources like, for example, the SWAT Team's Bearcat vehicle.
In some communities police officers and sheriff's deputies work together to fight crime in a consolidated metro department; if the Spokane Police Department moves out of the Public Safety Building it will be one large step away from any type of consolidation effort.