It was 10 years coming, but Friday saw the groundbreaking for a new police station in Corcoran.
A large group of community residents and officials gathered together for the ceremony, held at Civic Center Park. The park will provide the foundation for the new station, located just east of its current location. The “old” police department has been in place for about 75 years and long ago outgrew its usefulness.
At about 4,000 square feet, the current building houses a holding unit that Assemblyman Rudy Salas compared to one that could be viewed on an Andy of Mayberry episode. Staff is delegated to closet-size offices. Evidence has to be stored at a separate site.
With almost $6 million in funding snared through the hard work of a strong team from Corcoran, to the county, to Assemblyman Salas, a new facility will usher in the 21st century. The first installment came in the 2015 state budget, when Salas pulled off approximately $5 million in funding for Corcoran, Lemoore and Avenal police departments. Corcoran got the lion’s share at almost $4 million.
The local department had originally hoped to obtain closer to $7 to build a new headquarters. However, with money in hand, Chief of Police Reuben Shortnacy kept beating the bushes to find additional funds to initiate the project. Loans were considered. The city looked at various grant sources. Most were strike-outs, but Chief Shortnacy was not to be diverted.
Last year, a new prospect caught his eye: a new facility put together through manufactured construction. While still providing every security measure the police headquarters would need, the cost is greatly reduced. However more money was still needed.
Enter the team again. Shortnacy, with support and assistance from City Manager Dr. Kindon Meik, determined to approach the state once more. He got able assistance from the CrisCom Company in the persona of Chuck Jeloian and staunch letters of support from Kings County law enforcement officials, who all wrote letters. Richard Valle, chairman of the Kings County Board of Supervisors, once again joined the group, and Salas was happy to come on board.
The result? Another $1.7 million carve-out from the current budget, enough not only to tackle the new project, but complete it.
“This groundbreaking is the culmination of a multi-year effort to address the critical public safety need in our community. This new facility provides a 50-year solution that will greatly increase positive community interaction with the police department,” Salas said Friday morning. “This is a great day for the City of Corcoran and for Kings County. This investment will provide the community an additional meeting space and provide law enforcement with the facility and tools necessary to keep out neighborhoods safe.”
And, as envisioned by Shortnacy, that is certainly the plan. The new building, at 10,400 square feet, is more than double the size of the aged, existing facility. It will make critical improvements to public safety infrastructure, including an emergency operations center (EOC)—which the current department does not have—that will also double as a community meeting/training room; a modern temporary holding facility; a fully enclosed sallyport which will improve the safety of officers and prisoners, another new addition the current department does not possess; and even a modest exercise room for officers and staff.
There are actual windows, another perk the current facility does not have. A couple of courtyards also help bring the outside into the department. No more dark closets.
Shortnacy spread the thanks when he addressed the audience.
“This was made possible by our strong partnerships with Kings County law enforcement, Assemblyman Salas, Supervisor Valle and CrisCom. Assemblyman Salas was especially tenacious and committed to our project. I hope everyone will come back when we have our grand opening.”
The new facility, which should be completed perhaps by the end of the year, will face Hanna Ave. The address will appropriately be 911 Hanna Ave.