When Police Chief John Dyer interviewed for his position at the Lake Stevens Police Department (LSPD) in 2016, a new facility was already in discussion. At the time, the LSPD was in a 4,000 square foot, triple-wide, manufactured building with much of its evidence and vehicle seizures processed off-site. While the facility may have been adequate when built 15 years ago, the city’s population had grown drastically. Today the city has 40,000 people compared to its mere 6,000 people twenty years ago. Additionally, the department’s old location was far away from a majority of its calls for service. As the Chief puts it, “When you have a city with a lake in the middle of it, and you have to get to the other side of town, that causes a little bit of an impediment to doing that.”
To better serve its community, it was important for the LSPD to relocate. So, the city started looking for a new building. Around that time, the fire district was selling its headquarters building originally used as a real estate office. The property’s primary draw was that it offered three separate buildings that would allow the department to bring all its operations to one secure location. They chose to buy the buildings and completely remodel the space. It required almost a total gut of the space, changing all the office configurations. Now the department has a place to process evidence on site as well as house vehicles from seizures. Even more critical for the growth of the department is their new training facility. With the room to host regional classes, the department will receive free seats in those classes providing more training for the department and serving the city better.
When it came to the main building, there was a lot of work to do. In order to accommodate 41 employees, it was necessary to rework the space. This included converting four new offices out of areas that had previously been designed for one. The functionality of these spaces became essential. That is when OEC got involved in the process. As the chief shares, “We had some really good experiences with [OEC] to really make this our own building. The part I appreciated the most was working with the OEC design team to customize each individual office. I got to bring each employee into my office, and they sat and talked about where the desk would go and the types of things they would need. It was custom furniture for each individual room because the sergeants, patrol officers, and detectives knew best what they needed. So, having the ability to do that was just fantastic, and it really added to the morale to be a part of that.”
“The part I appreciated the most was working with the design team to customize each individual office.”
Making the workspace function was vital to the department. A good example being the patrol spaces. They previously had a room with a big round table and a few stations around it. That was where they would brief, eat lunch, and process evidence. There was no privacy and no ability to work individually. Now they have individual stations with a separate briefing room that will go a long way to make it much more conducive to how they work.
Another example is their forensics detective, who has a lot of computers and telephones. Creative solutions like pegboards proved useful to hang wires and cables, and granted plenty of storage for everything else. By customizing their furniture, the department was able to meet the specific needs of their officers.
The LSPD was the largest project that OEC’s junior designer, Gabriella Garcia, has ever done. And the customization of each office added to its scope. “It was a long process and super personal, and that spoke to me in the sense that I knew it means a lot to them.” Gabriella was a pivotal part of interior design as well. When the Chief reached out about overall design, she created a color board with flooring, wall protection, wall paints, and even wallpaper that the department loved. “It was a pretty awesome experience being able to customize the furniture and use my creativity. Since I created [the color board], I already knew which way I wanted to go with the furniture selection.”
While every room is unique, there are a few that were particularly special to Gabriella. Those rooms included the “Warm Interview Room” for witnesses or victims and the “Comfort Room” for anyone who needs a moment of peace. The people using these rooms range from toddlers to the elderly, so creating an atmosphere of comfort was of utmost importance.
“Designing this space became very personal to me. I was able to put myself in other people’s shoes and recognize that those in these spaces were in situations that they did not want to be in, and that can be scary. So it was emotional in a sense that I wanted each person to feel some comfort and
control in this environment.”
Gabriella’s favorite room to design was the Chief’s office. “He is so devoted to the police department and the city of Lake Stevens. “He wanted it to be a space that was unique to him, but when folks came in to discuss anything with him, he wanted them to feel comfortable, but not too comfortable.” Gabriella had to walk a fine line by creating something traditional yet modern and did so with some surprises. One such welcome addition was a custom glass table with the LSPD logo. Special details like this were well received by the Chief and his staff. “I love my office, and I hadn’t even thought of the table, so that was a surprise that I was pretty happy with.”
Back Up To Speed
With a fully outfitted new facility, the LSPt is looking forward to better serving their community. As the Chief says, “Lake Stevens is a great city with a great department and really good folks. And now that we have this new facility, we are bringing the city up to speed where it should be as far as law enforcement.”
With a fully outfitted new facility, the LSPD is looking forward to better serving their community. As the Chief says, “Lake Stevens is a great city with a great department and really good folks. And now that we have this new facility, we are bringing the city up to speed where it should be as far as law enforcement.”
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