The North Pole Police Department is getting a Covid-19 processing and decontamination facility. The facility will be a 2,400-square foot addition to the North Pole Police Station with locker rooms, a washer and dryer, and interview rooms.
Lt. Jeromey Lindhag explained that the goal is to keep members of the public and police officers safe by reducing traffic through the station.
The department discovered “deficiencies” for officer safety during the Covid-19 pandemic. One issue was that officers went directly from the field into the office, potentially exposing the entire department. A further source of contamination was that detainees and individuals being interviewed were brought into the main office.
To reduce these risks, the department will create a separate space, so that officers are not coming directly from the field into the office and detained individuals are kept apart from the rest of the station.
“It allows us to keep it on one end of the building,” Lindhag said.
The addition will include interview rooms and a separate bathroom for detainees and interviewees. There will also be locker rooms and a washer and dryer so that officers do not have to risk exposing their families by going home to shower and do laundry.
According to Lindhag, the department already has personal protective gear, so for now the focus is on constructing the facility. Plans have been in the works since late last year.
“It’s a slow process,” Lindhag.
The project is funded by both Covid-19 relief money and the city of North Pole. A contract was awarded to Stanton Construction, which has already begun work on the project. Lindhag estimates the facility will be complete in the early fall.
Contact reporter Maisie Thomas at 459-7544.