DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — Down in Southside, WFXR News got a look inside the Danville Police Department’s new headquarters, which is expected to run around $19 million when it’s all finished, according to Lt. Col. Dean Hairston.
In addition to his full-time position, Hairston also serves as the project director and was involved in the entire process to turn the Dan River, Inc. executive offices into the Danville Police Department.
He says there are several new facilities that the department never had in its old stations, such as a multipurpose room that will host training and events. The department previously had to rent out churches and other large spaces.
According to authorities, the new building also has a backup dispatch center, a virtual training room, locker rooms, and even showers for victims of crimes who may not have access to a shower otherwise. Police say they hope they’ll be able to offer a shower and clean clothes to homeless people who pass through the department.
Hairston adds that his officers are excited about the multiple new amenities.
“When they went to the multipurpose room, the fitness room, things that they didn’t know would be included, they were just blown away,” he said.
The department tells WFXR News that the city received a historical tax credit for the property, meaning it has to keep the original exterior and the corridors for seven years. The structure as-is provides a courtyard in the center that Hairston says he hopes to fill with trees so it will resemble a park when finished.
“Folks are now, who left the department, are coming back touring, saying, ‘gee, I wish I had rethought that, I wish I had known you guys were going to make this move,'” Hairston said.
He says hopefully it will be a good way to fight staffing issues that are being seen all over the country.
“Even today, at lunch, I talked to a gentleman who had previously been with us and he was, like, ‘I regret leaving,’ so it’s been a good retention and, hopefully, a good recruiting tool,” Hariston said.
He says the project has taken about two years, adding that it got started before supply chain issues became a problem.
The department hopes to welcome the public for an open house in October, but will have its official ribbon cutting on Friday, Aug. 19.