Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier set creating a new Lawrence police headquarters as one of the priorities while running for mayor in 2015.
“About six months before I was elected, I had come out of what we were calling our police station on the third floor of the city’s government center, and I remember thinking, ‘We deserve better than this,’” Collier said.
Upon election, Collier discussed with Lawrence’s City Controller/Deputy Mayor Jason Fenwick several times about how to get a standalone station.
“Jason, as always, found a way to work his magic and was able to build this police station, a $12 million facility that resulted in no increase in taxes for residents of the City of Lawrence,” Collier said at the Nov. 22 ribbon cutting. “That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment. We’ve been around for 150 years, and this will be our first standalone police station.
“It is truly a historic day.”
The design phase was during 2016 and 2017. The groundbreaking on the 5150 North Post Rd. site was in July 2018. Garmong Construction Services was the construction manager on the headquarters.
“We got started on it as soon as Mayor Collier got elected and took office in January 2016,” Lawrence Police Dept. Chief David Hofmann said. “It’s a rare occasion that a chief of police gets a ribbon on a new police station, so we are beaming with pride.”
Hofmann was appointed chief by Collier Jan. 1, 2016. Prior to that, he had been with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Dept. since 1997.
More than 115 full-time personnel will work in the new building.
Hofmann said the former police headquarters had been on the third and fifth floor and basement of the Lawrence Government Center, 9001 E. 59th St. Police cars were stored at a fire station on German Church Road and the traffic enforcement motorcycle at 86th Street and Oaklandon Road and the Gators golf carts were stored all across the city.
“Now we have everything here under one roof,” Hofmann said.
Hofmann said he is thankful for Collier and Fenwick’s vision and the progressive thinking of city leaders.
The new station is a 37,000-square-foot building on 4.5 acres. It includes a 911 dispatch center, a K-9 kennel, a fitness center and a 112-seat community room.
“They listened carefully way back in 2016 as we described just what we needed,” Hofmann said. “The literally hundreds of hard hat-wearing tradesmen and women brought this facility to life under the direction and incredible coordination of our project superintendent, Ron Hueston. Ron should be proud of a job not only well done by safely done. There was not one significant worker injury reported on this project, and that’s no accident.”
Lawrence Police Dept. Chief David Hofmann said the property room was scheduled to move into the new station during the first week of December, involving relocating thousands of pieces of property and evidence.
Police officers were scheduled to report to the new station Dec. 7, with the first official day Dec. 9.
“This is not an expense, it’s an investment in our city and encouraging citizens, families, school children, business and civic organizations to make use of this building, but I also encourage them to use it as a way to build their relationships and connect with their Lawrence police officers,” Hofmann said. “This is a new beginning for our police department to meet the challenges of the future. For many decades, Lawrence Police Dept. officers and public safety partners will be able to work, collaborate and fight crime all within a headquarters building that’s suitable for them.”
The Lawrence Police Dept. was established in 1929 during Prohibition.
“It probably just consisted of one guy and a revolver looking for bootleggers,” Hofmann said “Of course, as the city has grown, we have grown to the size we are now.”