Police Official Explains Need for Passage of Public Safety and Justice District [AUDIO]
The Public Safety and Justice District proposed to Missoula property taxpayers has a face, in fact, it has over a hundred faces, those of the Missoula Police Department.
Administrative Captain for the Police Department, Chris Odlin, said the building housing the over 100 members of the department hasn't been significantly remodeled or updated since the 1980's.
"Basically, we've outgrown our facility," Odlin said. "Since it's too expensive to construct an entirely new building for a department of our size, this district will help us deal with some of the problems that are most critical. One of those is evidence storage. We have so much evidence that we pay thousands of dollars a year for mini-storage rentals. The facilities here in City Hall contain hazards such as water pipes and sewer pipes that, if there was an accident, much of that evidence would be destroyed."
The plan, should the special taxing district pass, would be to build a facility to not only safely house evidence, but to also provide a clean, modern training facility with an appropriately sized shooting range.
Odlin said with over a hundred male and female officers, the current police facility has one unisex bathroom, and no changing or locker room areas.
"This doesn't seem like a really big issue unless you stepped in some hazardous material or blood while you were at work," Odlin said. "Now you are taking whatever it was home to your baby that is crawling around on the same floor you are stepping on with your work boots."
Odlin said every officer in the department understands they're asking Missoula residents to voluntarily increase their tax burden.
"It's something that we don't take lightly, but we wouldn't come to them if we didn't really need the money," he said.
Administrative Captain for the Police Department, Chris Odlin