OAKLAND CITY — Oakland City Common Council members authorized the Oakland City Police Department's move from its 210 E. Washington Street headquarters to the former Oakland City University Wilder Center on Ind. 64.
Police Chief Alec Hensley said they will try out the building for a year to determine whether it meets the department's needs. Hensley said OCU officials approached them about the building a couple of years ago, but they declined the offer.
Hensley said the current OCPD headquarters, located in the former town hall that also once served as a courthouse and library, has a high utility bill, cracks and crumbles and bricks sliding out. The department has a tight budget.
Hensley said the only cost they would have at the Ind. 64 location would be a phone bill. “That would a pretty good saving for us,” he said.
Hensley said the university has been very generous.
“This is a route that has been offered,” he said.
Mayor Hugh Wirth and Hensley met with OCU representatives to check out the vacant facility.
“It’s really a win-win,” Wirth said.
Wirth said they would use the entire east side of the building from the front to the back. They would have an interview and training room, a vault and offices.
“It’s almost tailor made,” he said.
Councilman AJ Cooper Jr. said he initially opposed the idea when he first heard about the offer a couple years ago.
Cooper said he grew up in Oakland City and loves the history of the current police headquarters. “But we can’t punish the police department for that.”
He said he’s for the police department moving into a better facility, but doesn’t want the town to get rid of the East Washington Street building.
Cooper suggested they save and repurpose the building or let someone buy it who would keep the building up.
“It is part of our history,” he said.
Hensley said he understands Coopers sentimental value with the building. He's been working in the building since 1992.
Wirth also agreed, and said they will keep the building available for a year, while the police department tries out the new location.
In other business, council members authorized a 25 mph speed limit on Jackson Street, and a stop sign at Jackson and Trussler streets.