Police department to get more space

By Andrew Schlesser

The city council has decided to investigate a plan to build a new city office building and renovate the municipal building for the police department, said Rick Monas, DeKalb public works director.

The plan was recommended over other plans for the new station, Monas said. The municipal building is expected to last the police department seven to 10 years, when the city hopes for a new police building to be built.

“It is the most fiscally responsible [plan] to the city and allows a transition period to occur,” Monas said.

But the proposal is only a short-term solution for future plans.

The ultimate goal is to get a new facility on the north side of the railroad tracks, said Police Chief Bill Feithen. Dealing with the tracks is a daily challenge,

“We want to provide the best service we can to citizens,” Feithen said. “To have ready backup and officers that can get to a majority of the calls.”

The police station is very cramped and the police department is growing, just like the DeKalb community, Feithen said.

Money is the No. 1 reason a short-term plan is needed.

“The police department is in a tight crunch and the city only has roughly $5 million to spend,” DeKalb City Manager Mark Biernacki said.

The chosen plan represents a dollar amount that is affordable, Biernacki said.

The plan also opens doors for use of the municipal building after the police department potentially moves north of the tracks.

City employees who work in an adjacent building, the Annex, would move into the municipal building and the Annex could be used or sold, Monas said.