Police chief wants more space

By John Bachmann

DeKALB | It’s no secret that the DeKalb Police station has space issues.

DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen said the limited space has created some problems when it comes to doing interviews with suspects and victims.

“We have incidents where suspects and victims come in and there’s not enough room to conduct interviews,” Feithen said.

Feithen said the current square footage of the station is around 20,000, compared to most police stations being in the 35,000-50,000 area.

The police station currently resides on the first floor of the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St.

Feithen said the current station was originally meant for fewer officers.

“When the building was constructed back in 1968, there were approximately 32 officers,” he said. “Today, there are 60 officers using the same space.”

Feithen feels the space for the station should be at least double what it is, and preferably at a whole new location.

“Something I said 10 years ago is we should be moved north of the railroad tracks on Lincoln Highway,” he said.

Feithen said moving to this new location would help because a good number of calls usually come from the northwest part of town.

Based on finances, DeKalb City Manager Mark Biernacki said having the station on Lincoln Highway can’t happen.

However, Biernacki said there are a few possibilities the city can explore in expanding the station.

One option would have the second floor of the Municipal Building made for police use, essentially having the majority of the municipal building turned into a police station. Biernacki said the city administrative staff would then have to relocate to a new building built across the street.

Another possibility Biernacki said could happen would have police utilizing the second floor, but would have an expansion built onto the municipal building to which the city administrative staff would move.

Feithen hopes a decision can be reached soon and would be happy with any possible space increase.

“Any more space is better than our current situation,” he said.

DeKalb Mayor Kris Povlsen said the police station size needs changes, but things need to be looked into before a decision is made.

“We need to improve upon our police facility,” Povlsen said. “[We} definitely have to look at the options we have to expand the facility in the current area.”