New Detroit Lakes 'cop shop' is a symbol of community support
“You can’t overstate the impact it has on your staff,” said Police Chief Steven Todd. ”Officers feel proud to walk into the place, proud to work in Detroit Lakes, because they feel supported — because they are supported.”
The new $6.7 million Detroit Lakes Police Department building was officially opened with a ribbon cutting, public tours and a group photo of police department staff on Wednesday.
The 21,000 square foot building, across from the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center on Holmes Street, was built to accommodate future city growth, Mayor Matt Brenk said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. .
“It’s a tremendous new facility,” Brenk said. “The city will be in good shape now for decades.”
The building is being paid for by a local option sales tax, which started in October 2019. The tax was expected to run until 2028 to pay off the new building, but, due to a conservative revenue estimate and higher-than-predicted sales within the city, the new station should now be paid off in full by fall of 2023. “This will then be a debt-free building,” Brenk said.
“Without the voters of Detroit Lakes, it wouldn’t have happened,” Vice-Mayor Ron Zeman said at the ceremony. “Public safety is the biggest goal of any city, including Detroit Lakes."
The police force has 17 full-time police officers, two part-timers and two full-time administrative staff, and they do a great job, Zeman said. “I’m just glad we have a great police force in Detroit Lakes that goes along with the building,” he added.
Police Chief Steven Todd thanked the community for passing the sales tax and supporting its police force. The public support has been great for police morale in these troubled times, he said.
“You can’t overstate the impact it has on your staff,” Todd said. ”Officers feel proud to walk into the place, proud to work in Detroit Lakes, because they feel supported — because they are supported."
Minnesota Sen. Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley) was among the dignitaries at the ribbon-cutting, and said in an interview that his job in helping get the proposed tax approved by the Legislature was the easy part.
City officials had the more difficult task of selling a tax increase to city residents.
That the sales tax was easily approved by city voters “shows the level of support from the community here, and it shows how important law enforcement is to all our communities,” Eken said. “Detroit Lakes understands that a tax increase was necessary to build such a great law enforcement facility.”
Chief Todd said the new building may also help with recruiting new officers, since fewer young people seem to be going into policing these days.
That’s important, Eken said, because “we want the best people being in these positions, because of the important work they do.”