Former Umpqua Bank building to be SPD’s new downtown precinct
SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Police Department’s new downtown precinct will be inside the former Umpqua Bank Building near Riverside and Wall.
Mayor Nadine Woodward made the announcement at a press conference Monday and said the precinct will be open by summer 2020.
Woodward said the city toured four different spaces, all on Riverside within a two- or -three-block radius of one another, before choosing the former bank building. She said it stood out from the others because it is a shell that can be customized to fit the needs of officers.
Moving the precinct was one of the foundations Woodward campaigned on and a move that has been supported by other city leaders, including members of the City Council.
City Council President Breean Beggs and Lori Kinnear first introduced a resolution in July 2019 that proposed moving the precinct, which had originally been downtown near the STA headquarters before being moved to the Intermodel Center in 2015.
Beggs and Woodward agreed that moving the precinct downtown would help build a better relationship between officers and the public. Beggs said it not only makes the physical headquarters more visible, but allows officers to get out of their vehicles and patrol on foot or by bike.
It is said the new precinct will increase police visibility downtown and accomodate up to 25 law enforcement officers. On Monday, Woodward said 16 SPD officers have already been assigned to the precinct, which will also have space for two Spokane County Sheriff’s Office deputies. More officers will be assigned closer to the precinct’s opening.
Spokane Police Chief Craig Meidl said the department will also be able to expand on its Behavioral Health Unit – which pairs an officer with a mental health professional – because of the new location.
“This is what we want. We want a more visible police force,” Woodward said. “We want our officers out on the street, foot patrol, bike patrol, engaging with our business owners, with the people who work downtown, with the people who visit downtown. And so I think it’s that one-on-one engagement that’s extremely important and the visibility will make a huge difference in people’s perception of being safe downtown. And again I’m talking about all citizens.”
The city signed a 10-year-deal for the space with a seven-year out if it is decided the precinct should be moved.
“Our downtown is thriving with so much more on the way,” Woodward said. “We have so much to be excited about.”
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