Charles Town Police Department unveils new building
CHARLES TOWN — The Charles Town Police Department has officially made their move from Liberty Street to South George Street. The move, which was nearly a year and eight months in the making, finds the department sharing a significantly larger space with the Charles Town Utility Board, in what was previously an American Public University building.
“It was a process,” said Chief Chris Kutcher. “There was a good bit of re-design to make the building functional as a police department.”
Finishing touches are still being put on the department’s new home, but Kutcher said there was never any down time caused by the move. Officers are working at full capacity, even as work crews continue to complete final touches within the walls of the new facility.
The former police department, a building owned by the city, is currently vacant. City officials are discussing how to make use of the space.
“But we are all out and over here,” Kutcher said.
According to Kutcher, there are basically three distinct divisions within the department, including administrative, investigations and patrol officers. At the former location, officers and staff were busting at the seams. At the new location, each segment of the department now has room to grow.
The department currently has 15 officers in addition to Kutcher, as well as two civilian staffers.
“With this move, we are planning for the future,” Kutcher said. “Charles Town is a growing community. This is a positive step for us.”
The facility features offices and workstations for all officers and staff. In addition, there are individual interview rooms, which will help officers keep prisoners separate, especially juvenile prisoners.
“It’s a much more secure location,” said Capt. Glenn Stevens. “It is modernized and completely up to all standards we need to follow.”
The new location offers secure evidence rooms and a fenced entrance, with a secure garage area allowing officers to drive inside with prisoners. Three holding cells are available for prisoners, who later may be transferred to Magistrate Court for arraignment or to directly to Eastern Regional Jail, depending upon the time of day or night of their arrest.
The police department’s portion of the building is completely secure from the remainder of the building housing the Charles Town Utility Board. The two city departments do share a combined kitchen facility, restrooms and a fitness room; however, access to the police side of the building is only available with appropriate keycards.
“This is a huge upgrade from where we were,” Stevens said. “Again, it’s much more secure and it’s convenient. While it’s out of downtown, it’s not that far out.”
“It is more centrally located within the city limits,” added Sgt. James Knott. “And there is better parking for the public, both for those who need the police department and those who need the Utility Board.”