Groundbreaking for Rock Island Police Station

July  15, 2014

      Local police officers will soon be able to keep the community safe, from a new home. This afternoon, the Rock Island Police Department held a groundbreaking for its new station at 6th Avenue and 13th Street.

       Chief Jeff VenHuizen joined the department twenty years ago. He says even then, he knew the 20,000 square foot space, built in 1940, wasn't practical.

       "We were using every available nook and cranny that was in the building. Wherever we could store evidence, we would store evidence. We had detectives that are to work together, but were spread out in different wings of the building. We had customer service employees that were on the second floor of the facility, so they would have to walk down the stairs to service the public and then go back upstairs to get whatever they need, then back downstairs, so it was very inefficient."

      The department considered 13 other sites before choosing the current location, just west of downtown, in the Old Chicago neighborhood. The deparment will also convert an existing building across the street into a crime lab with space for storing evidence and vehicles.  Mayor Dennis Pauley says they new station is just one of the city's many development projects.

       "If you go down to 12th street, with Friendship Manor, they're doing a lot of work. You continue on down and we're going to have the Walmart and all the facilities there, the new Dollar General store, so we're just pushing a lot harder than it's ever been pushed before."

      The new station will cover 44,000 square feet and should open next year. It will cost about $20 million. 


(Photo: A rendering designed by Gere Dismer Architects of Rock Island.)