Park Hills police chief: We need a facilities upgrade

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Park Hills Police Chief Cody Stanley wants a station better suited to their law enforcement’s needs.

The asks include an evidence storage room, an interrogation room, separate office spaces for the chief, investigator, and officers, weapons and equipment storage, and a training room.

While the chief said he is happy with the up-to-date police cruisers and other quality equipment such as body cameras provided by the city, the Amsterdam Road police station leaves something to be desired. 

Currently operating in 400 square feet on the second floor of the city building (that’s roughly the size of a two-car garage), Stanley was promised more adequate facilities over a decade ago. 

The facility passes security protocol, but it lacks some fundamental amenities that would assure their passing state accreditation requirements within the next year, Stanley said. Stanley isn’t too worried about passing, but said they may get dinged for lingering unresolved problems. 

One major issue is the lack of high-quality secure storage for records. Right now, records sit in boxes or in locked metal cabinets in the chief’s (currently multi-use) office. While he’s sure the room is secure, it’s not the safest place to keep valuable documents, he said. 

“I worry about fires,” he said. “It’s [records] in there with all that electronic stuff and the building’s older.” 

Another issue is privacy. Imagine you’re an investigator needing to interrogate an important suspect in a felony case but you’re within earshot of others in the building. That doesn’t bode well for proper investigatory probing, he said. Park Hills police resort to using the Kenton County facilities for some interviews, which can be inconvenient and is not a professional look for Park Hills, Stanley said.

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At the March Park Hills Business Meeting, Mayor Kathy Zembrodt discussed ways to fulfill the request. One possibility would be to renovate the current Amsterdam Road space. But after consulting with a few contractors, purchasing a new space seems more viable, Stanley said. 

Amsterdam road would need significant upgrades such as asbestos mitigation, wall reconfiguration, and the installation of a single elevator. An elevator alone can cost $100,000. All in all, Zembrodt said she was quoted a rough estimate of upwards of $700,000 for a remodel.

Putting the police force on Dixie Highway in a new space is another alternative. The purchase of a building, according to Zembrodt’s research, could cost around $300,000 for a 1,250 square foot space, with another $38,400 to customize it to the police’s needs. This could all be paid for in cash from the city’s general fund. 

Council members are carrying discussions forward to fine comb the financial details and possibilities to fulfill the long-overdue upgrades.

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