Baldwin City police chief says department has outgrown headquarters, cites security concerns

Baldwin City Police Chief Greg Neis can tell horror stories about what he considers the inadequacies of his department’s headquarters.

“There’s no room to split up groups or isolate anyone,” he said. “We had a family in here for a sexual-abuse case. The suspect was here. The girl was crying, the mother was crying, and in walks two people wanting VIN inspections on their vehicles.”

A 1,200-square-foot former flower shop at 811 Eighth St. is the headquarters for his force of nine full-time officers and two support staffers. He says the space is inadequate in many ways, but his biggest concern is safety.

The only security feature in the building is the bulletproof glass that the City of Eudora donated when its police department moved to its new headquarters, Neis said. The glass now screens the desk of the department’s administrative assistant from the front entry lobby. The office to the left of the entry doesn’t have a door, and the door to the right can’t be secured, he said.

“There’s no security inside the building,” he said. “All the officers’ desks are out where anyone walking in the front door can see them.”

The openness doesn’t lend itself to common police procedures. No private interview or interrogation room exists for the kinds of confidential conversations that occur in police stations, Neis said. The inability to separate quarreling parties is also a problem, as the incident Neis related indicates.

(Read more: / Lawrence, Kansas)