GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - After a year of construction and a $4.8 million price tag, the Gonzales Police Department is thrilled to officially open its new facility with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday.
The new station is more than four times the size of the old one and the chief says every inch is designed to make their work better and safer.
GPD is busy settling into its new multimillion dollar station. Stretching over 19,000 square feet, the new facility is a far cry from the cramped quarters the department called home for years.
"It's a good thing to have. It's going to motivate our police officers, it's going to you know, help the community and we all can be proud," said Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson.
Gone are cracked walls, stacked filling cabinets and case files haphazardly piled up in corners. The new police station is state of the art, giving officers more tools to safely fight crime.
"We've made leaps and bounds, starting with officer safety," said Jackson.
This includes an open squad room surrounded by windows, and extra holding rooms for suspects while they are being processed.
"I wish everybody we arrested was nice, but on occasion, everyone does not cooperate fully. Officer safety is huge and I can tell you we've taken the steps to make sure our officers are safe," said Jackson.
The way officers book and log evidence, which is the key to every investigation, has also been upgraded with new lockers and a secure filing system.
The facility includes new equipment worthy of a CSI episode that officers can use to process and preserve evidence.
The new station comes with extra amenities for officers like a full kitchen, showers and laundry facilities so that officers can remain at the station full time in the event of an emergency like a hurricane.
Aside from the new squad room, extra offices and even a workout room ready for equipment, the chief is most proud of the classroom that can be used for officer training and community programs.
"That right there, I think will make us a better community, a stronger community. It's my favorite thing," said Jackson.
The classroom can also be converted into an Emergency Operations Center if needed.
The chief says GPD will take full advantage of the classroom setting and will use it to reach out the community as well. The department is already planning a women's self defense class for late August.
The new station was built at a cost of $4.8 million. A grant from Ascension Parish provided about $1 million of that cost.
The new location is only a block and half from the old station which will now be used by city hall.