Shared public safety facility advances with buy in from city and county officials

Scott Franz
Interim Police Chief Jerry DeLong, left, and Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins, right, discuss the potential shared public safety facility on Wednesday with County Facilities Director Tim Winter.
Scott Franz

— Elected officials in Routt County could be looking at a conceptual design and budget for a shared public safety facility in west Steamboat Springs by the end of the year.

The new working group that is planning the facility resolved on Wednesday to have a proposal ready for the Steamboat Springs City Council and the Routt County commissioners to consider by Dec. 15.

If the proposal is accepted, the working group suggested the construction on the shared facility could then start as soon as 2017.

The project has buy in from the current city council and the commissioners.

“This is more than an exercise,” Commissioner Cari Hermacinski said at the working group’s first planning meeting. “We believe in the citizens committee’s recommendation” for a shared facility.

The shared facility next to the Routt County Jail was the top recommendation of a citizens committee that was formed to help the city council plan for a new police station.

Officials agree that housing the city’s police department and the sheriff’s office under the same roof could save taxpayer dollars and promote greater interaction between local law enforcement agencies just as a similar facility in Craig has.

The new working group, which includes elected officials and managers from both the city and the county, has already started talking about some of the logistics for a shared facility.

Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins said he estimates about 8,800 square feet could be shared in the facility.

County officials proposed that the city would purchase from the county the land that the city’s portion of the facility would be built on. The county would then use its proceeds from the sale to build the portions of the facility it would be using.

Hermacinski said the county would aim to finance the project without going to voters for funding.

She added the county views it as a comprehensive project that would have the city and the county build the facility at the same time.

The working group also agreed it would be best to design the facility in such a way that promotes interaction among the law enforcement agencies that would work under the same roof.

At the end of Wednesday’s meeting, Wiggins and Interim Steamboat Springs Police Chief Jerry DeLong looked over a blueprint of the existing sheriff’s office and started to discuss the programming possibilities in a shared facility.

The working group plans to have a consultant determine the space needs of the county’s emergency services and then compare them with the police department’s needs to come up with a conceptual design for a shared facility.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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