Thursday, March 26, 2009 | midnight
The Henderson Police Department — whose goal is to ensure that the rapidly growing community is among the safest in the country — recently celebrated the official grand opening of its North Community Police Station, located at 225 E. Sunset Road.
The new 35,600-square-foot facility serves residents of Henderson’s North Patrol Division, an area approximately located north of the 215 Beltway, south of Russell Road, east of Green Valley Parkway and west of Pabco Road, according to Hector Mancillas, captain of the division, which was created in August 2006 to better serve the law enforcement needs of the second-largest city in the state.
“Back in 2005, we had our main police headquarters on Lead Street and our West Community Police Station on Green Valley Parkway, and we came to the realization that we were outgrowing our facilities and needed to start looking at building a third station,” Mancillas said. “The city was continuing to grow geographically, and we needed to put officers in positions where they could have better response times. So we broke the city into three areas, and each station is now responsible for that area’s police services.”
The North Patrol Division officers worked out of the West Community station until the new facility was completed this month, Mancillas said, adding that the North Community Police Station is the first LEED-certified building in Henderson. The LEED Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance, energy-efficient buildings.
“We are proud of being associated with the forward-thinking people at the city of Henderson and the Henderson Police Department, who understand the virtues of designing and building a sustainable project,” said Randy Spitzmesser, principal with project architect Tate Snyder Kimsey. “I hope it stands as a challenge to the other government agencies in our area to move forward on being responsible to the environment on their projects.”
Total project cost was approximately $16 million, which included about $10.1 million in construction costs.
The North Community Police Station now accommodates more than 70 sworn uniformed officers and various departmental support staff. The new station also houses a number of specialized units, such as SWAT, canine, traffic and mounted police.
Mancillas said the North Patrol Division is working to step-up its patrol presence and visibility in the area in order to create an overall safer community.
“It’s an older neighborhood, and we want to make the residents feel safe and bring back some pride of ownership,” he said. “We are deploying neighborhood bicycle patrols, for example, which are much more approachable than police cars and help bridge the gap between the police and the community. We’ll also just continue driving around locally, because part of what we do, in the way of deterring crime, is just making ourselves more visible. If you drive through a neighborhood on a regular basis, the criminals will see that and say, ‘Well, it’s a little too hot here, so we are going to move our operation somewhere else.’ High visibility is definitely a plus in our business.”
Mancillas said the new station also houses the Henderson Police Department’s community relations unit, which provides proactive crime prevention programs, services and classes, including the Crime Free Multi-Housing program.
“In cooperation with apartment managers and other multihousing (properties), like mobile home parks and condominiums and townhouses, we are working toward the goal of being able to screen clients,” Mancillas said.
“If you have some kind of shady background or are wanted by the police as a known drug dealer, then they won’t rent to you — this is how we keep this kind of thing out of Henderson.”
Jutta Chambers, the Henderson’s chief of police, said, “The station is a symbol of the commitment the city of Henderson and the police department have to the area residents. The new station not only serves as a symbol of protection, but the various energy-efficient aspects of the building, such as the solar panels over the parking coverings and use of natural light, serve as our commitment to protecting the environment.”
Since 2002, the Henderson Police Department has been nationally recognized through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
“This means they had to be voluntarily in compliance with a set of 462 international standards dealing with administration, personnel, operations and support,” said Christie Goddard, program manager with the organization. “This could deal with anything from use of force, to human resources, to property and evidence, to communications. When you look at the fact that there are over 16,000 police departments in the country and a little over 600 are accredited, it’s definitely something to be proud of.”