Raleigh offers tour of current safety center

Raleigh Police move temporarily while a new building is constructed.

January 14, 2010 6:43:47 PM PST
Raleigh police allowed ABC11 Eyewitness News rare access inside their current home Thursday to show why they could really use a new one.Raleigh's city council could vote as soon as next Tuesday on a new $200 million public safety center.

Plans for the new public safety center have triggered questions about an amphitheater, video wall and even art in the building.

The current police department headquarters is 50-years-old.

"Heating and cooling in this building is very inconsistent," Raleigh Police Department Mjr. Cassandra Beck-Brown said. "Some days when the heat is on, it's very hot. And sometimes we're having to unplug one item to plug the other one in."

They call their retro-grade power outlets "tomb stones."

Cold case murder files are stashed behind a dry erase board and the ceiling leaks.

Homicide detectives say they have trouble making a quiet phone call.

"One person's on the phone, they are all able to hear that conversation," Beck-Brown said. "There's very little privacy."

The lunchroom is the old city council chambers. While, officials say there is no room to store all the crime records. The evidence lockers were taken second hand from a bus station.

And there's no sally-port - crime suspects, witnesses and the public, all walk through the same door.

"What you also see here is just very close and tight quarters for all people involved," Beck-Brown said.

Raleigh police have tried to stay out of the fray on a 14-story tower, but they would like the public to know a little about where they work now.

The headquarters is so old that it includes a memorial plack of the Raleigh City Council, which dedicated the building; names include city councilmember Jesse Helms.

The Raleigh City Council could vote on the Lightner Public Safety Center as early as next Tuesday.

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