MT. VERNON (WSIL) — Mount Vernon is building a new $11 million police department. They say their current department falls short of the areas needed for the force to excel at its job.
He’s nearly 80 years old, in a past life he was a car dealership, and Police Chief Trent Page says the current police department is overcrowded, outdated and really doesn’t serve its purpose anymore.
“There are so many different ways that this building is not meeting our needs,” Page said, “or the needs of the public who come here asking for police services.”
Chef Page gave a brief tour of WSIL to see the highlights. A small dark room is distributed, at the end of a long narrow corridor houses the offices of the investigators, a singular interrogation room and a staircase, the room used for roll call, briefings and if necessary an operations center emergency.
“We had one of our council members take a tour to check out the building,” Page explained, “and he compared it to what used to be a house and somebody tried to figure it out. make apartments out of them – and used every place he could to make apartments.”
Mayor John Lewis said he believed it was the city government’s job to protect its residents, but that was difficult to do with outdated facilities and resources.
“We need to have a facility that gives our men and women the tools they need today,” Lewis said, “to be respected, professional, and take care of our citizens.”
And, says Lewis, with the bond refinancing, ARPA funds and financial support from Congressman Mike Bost, residents won’t see a tax hike to help with construction.
“Essentially, we are able to build this new facility with no additional expense and no tax increases for Mt. Vernon ratepayers,” Lewis explained.
Deputy city manager Nathan McKenna said each specialty will have its own dedicated area, a training room, a larger spread, on property the city already owns at Veterans Park.
“That way we wouldn’t have the added expense of buying a property,” McKenna said. “So we could take what would have been used to buy a property and use it instead for the construction of the building.”
McKenna said if the project stays on track, it should be completed in May 2023.
People also worried about a popular walking trail. It was cut off by the construction of the station. Officials say the path WILL be replaced, and even improved.