The Wake Forest Police Department has reopened its main station after a series of renovations closed part of the building to the public for several months.
Even though the project put things slightly out of order since last September, Chief of Police Jeffrey Leonard said the upgrades to 225 S. Taylor St. were long overdue.
The building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems were replaced. A larger evidence room was installed. There is new carpet, fresh paint and an enclosed entrance.
The entire project was completed for $500,000.
During the past couple of decades, the town’s population has grown exponentially, and so has the area that people consider a part of the town. The police department has also grown to meet the increased needs.
“As a kid growing up here, the (Wake Forest United) Methodist Church used to be in the county, and it wasn’t even considered part of the city,” said Leonard, who first joined the department in 1992 as an auxiliary officer. “Now there are a lot more commercial things, a lot more people, and it’s still getting bigger.”
The department has more dispatchers, patrol officers and support staff than ever before, and a workspace that seemed spacious when there were about a dozen officers had become cramped. Today the town’s police force is composed of about 60 sworn officers and a dozen civilians.
“Everybody used to have their own space, but that ran out a long time ago,” Leonard said. “This gets us back where we need to be.”
The upgrades make usual better than it was, but business has returned to usual.
Live scan fingerprinting – a service the department offers from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursdays, which was suspended during construction – will resume Feb. 7.
The police station’s new counter is open from 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.