Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Regarding New Police Station Proposal
Why is the Village of Elburn considering placing a funding proposal on the November 2022 ballot?
The Village seeks to fund construction of a new police station that enables officers to respond quickly to calls and secure, process, book and hold detainees in a manner that does not put the public or the Police Department’s staff at risk.
Why do we need a new police station?
The simple answer is safety. The current 1,875 sq. ft. station, located within Village Hall, is significantly undersized and lacks security. The station does not meet the minimum standards to protect the public, police officers and staff. The facility also poses many potential liabilities for the Village. Below are additional details regarding the challenges that the Village’s undersized police station poses:
- Less than 1,900 sq. ft. of space.
The current police station is 1,875 sq. ft. That is simply not enough room for 10 full-time officers, 10 part-time officers, two records staff and two part-time community service officers. With Elburn’s population and police force projected to keep growing, space needs are only going to get worse for the Police Department.
- No licensed holding facility.
The Department’s small booking room is not equipped to properly detain or hold detainees. This room can only hold a maximum of two detainees for a short period of time, creating many challenges.
- Transferring detainees is a serious challenge.
Due to a lack of space and restrictions based on facility design, it is very difficult to keep the public as well as civilian staff separated from detainees. For example, because there is limited ventilation, the booking room cannot house the equipment used to determine the blood alcohol content of an intoxicated subject. This equipment is housed immediately behind the Department’s records specialists, putting these personnel at risk. Detainees also use non-secure employee restrooms.
- No room to safely process and properly store evidence.
There are many types of evidence that the Elburn Police Department must process and secure, including biohazardous materials, drugs and weapons. This poses many challenges for the Village’s officers and civilian employees given the lack of space, proper ventilation and other environmental controls. In fact, all evidence is now stored offsite once processed. This also holds true for long-term documents.
- No armory for secure weapons storage.
Without an armory, there is limited space in the current police station to properly store weapons and ammunition. Long-term weapons must be secured off site.
- Lack of secure parking.
Unlike most modern police stations, Elburn’s police station does not have a secure parking area to protect officers, vehicles and equipment.
- No space for training.
While most police stations have an area for ongoing officer training, Elburn’s station does not have the space.
- Unsecure interview room.
The station’s small interview room also serves as a desk report room and non-secure juvenile room. This room does not allow for a secure interview of a person already in custody.
How large is the Village of Elburn’s police force?
The Department has 10 full-time officers, 10 part-time officers, two records staff and two part-time community service officers.
Is the Village’s population growing?
With Elburn Station and other housing developments adding many new homes to our community, the Village’s population is projected to exceed 8,500 residents by 2030, an increase of more than 30%. As the community continues to grow, so will the Elburn Police Department in order to keep residents safe.
What are the biggest problems with the current police station?
The biggest challenges include the lack of a licensed holding facility, an inadequate booking area, insufficient space for long-term records and evidence storage, no on-site armory to properly secure weapons and ammunition, escape risk and safety issues given the layout of the station, no secure sally port for safely bringing detainees into and out of the station, a lack of space for processing and securing vehicles for evidence and overcrowded workspaces.
Why not expand the existing police station?
There is not enough space on the existing site for expansion.
What about converting an existing building into the police station?
Other options have been carefully vetted but no better alternatives have been identified. For example, renovating the Community Center downtown to be used in part for the police station would be significantly more expensive than constructing a new station.
Where is the proposed location of the new police station?
The proposal calls for the new Elburn police station to be located on Village-owned property on Anderson Road south of Keslinger Road, near the water tower. There are two baseball fields, a soccer field, and a gravel lot on the property. The sports fields and parking would remain. This central location provides access to two major roadways that are uninterrupted by the railroad. In addition, the site already has access to utilities.
What would the new police station feature?
The new, 18,065 sq. ft. police station would include a public lobby area; a secure sally port; designated spaces for secure storage for records, property and evidence, evidence processing, and arrestee processing; patrol room; training/community space; shared staff spaces; officer lockers and multipurpose area; and staff/building support areas.
Would a new police station help with the recruitment of police officers?
Yes. A new, safe, modern police station would improve recruitment and retention of law enforcement professionals. This is currently a serious challenge for most municipalities, including Elburn.
Why is this project urgent?
A recent study by the Northern Illinois University Center for Government Studies found the need for a new police station to be the most pressing issue facing the Village of Elburn. Legal liability is also a growing concern given the many risks posed by the size and layout of the existing station. In addition, given construction inflation, the longer the Village waits to construct a new police station, the more it will cost.
If approved by voters this fall, when would the police station be completed
The goal is to have the new facility operational by the end of 2024.
How much would a new police station cost?
The estimated cost of the proposed new police station located on Village-owned land is $9.9 million.
What is the estimated tax impact?
The following is a breakdown of the estimated annual tax impact of the proposed 20-year, $9.9 million bond measure by home value:
If approved by voters, would community updates be provided?
Yes. The Village would provide project updates via in-person community information meetings and on its website.
What percentage of a property owner’s tax bill goes to the Village?
About 5% of a homeowner’s tax bill in Elburn goes to the Village.
When was the last time Elburn voters approved additional funding for the Village to address capital improvements?
It has been more than 15 years since voters approved funding for the Village to address capital facility improvements. The Village has worked hard to live within its means.