Anamosa has plans to move police department out of 117-year-old building

ANAMOSA, Iowa (KCRG) - The Anamosa Police Department says officers are desperately in need of a new building because the 117-year old one they're in now is falling apart.

The Anamosa Police Department is housed in a building that was built in 1902 (JACKIE KENNON/KCRG).

The city says it's come up with a solution, which includes revitalizing a building that's sitting empty now.

Anamosa Police Chief Jeremiah Hoyt has been with the department for two years now. He still remembers his first impressions of his workplace.

“When I first came here, one of the first things I told employees was, ‘Wow what a great building,’ they kind of chuckled a little bit and said, ‘Spent some time in it,” Hoyt said.

Now, he sees things a little differently.

It's also not handicap accessible, instead, a sign is posted outside to call a number if assistance is needed, and an officer will come outside.

Operations are cramped. Hoyt says the whole department basically just has two rooms to use for all of its functions.

Evidence is stored in the basement. Hoyt says officers have to be cautious to not put anything on the ground, because rainy days can mean flooded floors.

“The building that they're currently in was a temporary solution over ten years ago,” said Anamosa City Administrator.

The city has plans that are well underway to move them out. Sheridan says estimates for a brand new police station came in well over the million-dollar mark.

Instead, they're taking a building that's not being used, and converting it into a police department.

“The cost involved and the timeline involved are a fraction of what it would be for a new build,” Sheridan said.

The city purchased a building on North Ford Street from a developer for $243,500. The developer is gutting the former restaurant and adding a new roof to the 7,000 square foot building.

Sheridan says the city is expecting the total cost to come in under $700,000.

“It's a great location, it keeps our police station near the center of the community so they can be involved,” Sheridan said.

Chief Hoyt says he's looking forward to the new building to help them be transparent with the people the department serves.

“It just doesn't look professional, it's not functional, it's very difficult to work with the public," Hoyt said. "I think we should be an agency where we can have the public come in and out of here, and see that we're running efficient and effective operations.”