Police Officials Get Their Wish In Law Enforcement Headquarters Design

By Jeff Neumeyer

March 24, 2011 Updated Mar 24, 2011 at 6:22 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Security wins out over cost in the renovation of the City-County Building.

A decision Thursday afternoon is making the Allen County sheriff and Fort Wayne police chief happy.

Allen County Council authorized expenditure of an extra $338,000 to ensure that the layout of the new law enforcement headquarters meets with the approval of Sheriff Ken Fries and Police Chief Rusty York.

A number of city and county government offices are moving to the new Citizen's Square at 200 East Berry Street.

That will clear the way for the City-County Building to be converted into a police operations center.

The county commissioners proposed keeping the building's escalators, and shifting placement of a police records bureau inside the building, to cut costs.

The sheriff and police chief argued the changes would compromise security and public safety, saying, in part, the new plan would not provide for a secured 24-hour access into the building.

Council agreed to turn over the extra money to satisfy police officials concerns.

Sheriff Ken Fries/(R) Allen County: " They decided to fund the project the way both police agencies felt would work best. So, I give council and the commissioners credit. I think they did the right thing."

Nelson Peters/(R) Allen County Commissioner: " All in all, it is an appropriate fund for it to come out of. We've got the dollars now that we need to go finish this project, and onward and upward."

The money will come out of the commissioners cumulative capital development fund, not the county general fund as first proposed.

Commissioner Peters says it could mean a few other capital projects will be delayed, and that less money will be available in case emergency maintenance issues pop up.

The conversion of the government building to a police headquarters is supposed to be complete by the end of this year.

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