PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville’s Police Department is moving from the downtown building it’s occupied for several decades. "When I came to Prineville in 2015, the building was a mess; to say the least," Chief Dale Cummins tells KBND News, "We’re probably only using, maybe, half of the building, because there’s things like big iron boiler rooms that we can’t occupy, a big garage in the back we really can’t use." And, he says, the roof leaks, "At one point, the Report Writing room I had to actually close down, because the water was so bad and the mold count was so high, I couldn’t have my officers in it." He's also concerned the dispatch center housed in the 1956 building would be compromised in a major emergency, because it sits in a flood plain and would likely not survive a quake. Chief Cummins adds, "The building was actually in such disrepair that they brought it to the attention of voters and actually passed a levy to get a new jail, just to get the prisoners and the county deputies out of this building." That new Crook County Jail is set to open next week.
Cummins says several independent firms looked at the feasibility of renovating the facility, which was originally built in 1956. The city even secured a grant in 2017 to improve earthquake resiliency, but he says that $1.2 million quickly became a drop in the bucket, "So, all of a sudden, we’re talking about $4-$6 million just to try to repair the current building." He says an outside analyst even told him it would be cheaper to tear the building down and start again. Instead, he found a building about a half a mile away, on Northeast Elm, "That was basically a medical building. Two story. And, it fit our needs." He says it was renovated in 2004, is above the flood plain and is considered earthquake resilient.
He hopes to move in next year, "We’re just early in the process. I’m just going to have my first meeting with engineers next week, but we’re shooting for 12-18 months." They still need to firm up a design for the interior, which he hopes will provide a more efficient work-flow for officers and dispatchers. Cummins says the city purchased the building with a $4 million loan, acquired without additional taxes. Plans for the property on Third Street have not been finalized, but he speculates it could become a parking lot.