The Lacey Police Department and the community work together to make Lacey a safe and desirable place to live, work, learn, and play. We accomplish this by focusing on prevention, intervention, and enforcement. The City of Lacey (City) is growing and anticipates to have a population of about 75,000 by 2035. Population growth requires an increase in staffing and programing for the Police Department to maintain levels of safety our community expects.
Lacey’s current, unofficial population is 58,000 and the Police Department includes 63 sworn and 13 non-sworn professional (76 total) staff. To serve a population of 75,000, the City would likely need up to 110 officers. This number is derived from the average number of officers, currently 1.44 officers for every 1,000 in population, in the State of Washington. The new police station is expected to meet the needs of our full-service, law-enforcement agency for the next 30-40 years. This means the structure needs the flexibility to grow as the City and Police Department continue to grow. The current facility does not have the space to accommodate this growth or the City’s current policing needs. In addition, the current building does not meet essential building standards and would not likely survive a significant natural disaster.
The existing building is 18,250 sq. ft. Studies have shown a need for at least 42,000 sq. ft. of space to accommodate an appropriately staffed police department to meet the needs of a growing population. An option to build and renovate the current facility was considered and deemed not feasible because the increased size of the building would have eliminated the parking spaces needed to accommodate the City campus. In addition, working in a building under construction would impede police operations for an extended period of time. International Association of Chief of Police (IACP) best practices for a new police station indicate the facility should include these essential features:
- Easily identifiable location
- Clearly marked parking
- Easily identifiable and accessible entrances
- Easy access for picking up property
- Safe-swap zones
- Space for community meetings
The current police facility lacks these essential features.
The City entered into an agreement with St. Martin’s College to purchase the land just north and adjacent to the current City campus. This option allows for the building to be located and designed in a new area, while still complementing the existing City campus and St. Martin’s College landscapes. This site allows for the Police Department to present itself as a civic beacon from all sides of the campus and is easily accessed by car, bus, bicycle, and foot. The site also allows enough space in the building for an area where community members can gather for meeting and events.
The Lacey Police Department’s style of community policing means partnering with non-governmental organizations to provide positive outcomes for community members. Spaces for mental health and homeless outreach professionals in a space with police officers is paramount when building a facility in the 21 st century. Washington State mandates de-escalation trainings for officers. To emphasize the importance of development and training in new approaches in policing, proper space for learning is required and should be comfortable and convenient.
The Lacey Police Department seeks to move into the new building in 2025.