Chief talks about new police station

The new Abbeville Police Station, which is expected to be completed by October of this year, will not have a jail to hold prisoners but will have a state-of-the-art evidence room, interviewing room and its own crime laboratory.

Abbeville Police Chief Rick Coleman gave a presentation to the Abbeville Rotarians about the new police station.

Although there was a ground breaking ceremony last month, construction has yet to begin on the station. Look for construction to actually start at the end of the month and be completed by the fall, he said.

The new brick building, to be located at the same location as the old one on Charity Street, will be a one story and have 4,693 square feet under roof. The cost will be around $1 million, much of it paid by state grant money.

The front will face Charity Street and have public parking at the front entrance. In the back will be a parking lot large enough for 10 police cars.

When a person walks into the front entrance of the lobby, a receptionist will greet the person. If the person needs to go in the back to talk with a police officer or detective, the receptionist will buzz the officer in the back and the officer will have to open a locked door from inside in order to let the person into the back where the offices are.

For years, when a person walked into the old police station, they were able to see the dispatcher behind a glass wall. No longer. The dispatchers will be off by themselves in a room with no windows and will never been seen by the public, the chief said.

After 5 p.m., if someone comes to the police station and wants to see a police officer, the dispatcher will be able to view who is at the front door with the aid of a video camera and will also talk to them over a speaker.

The dispatcher can unlock the front door from within his or her dispatcher office. Once the person is allowed into the main lobby, a police officer will tend to the person by going meet them in the front lobby.

On one half of the building there will be a 20x15 exterior storage room, a fire-protected air-conditioned evidence vault room, interview room, an evidence lab room and four detective rooms.

On the other half of the building is a large squad room, dispatcher’s office, Sergeant’s office, two other offices and a three storage rooms.

The chief’s room is almost in the middle of the building.

A Rotarian asked Coleman why was there not a jail cell in the new building, and he explained that to have three jail cells would triple the cost of the building. The chief said it is cheaper to pay the New Iberia Sheriff Department $25 per day to house a prisoner than to house one in Abbeville.

Once the new station is built, Coleman said the old holding jail facility on South State Street will be closed and not used by the police department.

Minvielle Lumber in Abbeville is the contractor awarded the bid to construct the building.

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