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EPD property room exceeds capacity

The Edmond Sun,
BYLINE: Mark Schlachtenhaufen The Edmond Sun
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EDMOND — Edmond officers are busier, leading to 1,272 more property items being submitted in 2010 over 2009, police said.

Edmond Police Maj. Steve Thompson said the Police Department’s property room, where items including evidence from cases including homicides and home burglaries are stored, is over capacity.

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Melissa Taft, a property clerk with the Edmond Police Department, talks about organization efforts in the property room. Officials say it is already over capacity and keeping up with incoming items is a challenge. MARK SCHLACHTENHAUFEN | THE EDMOND SUN

Currently, the agency is having to store non-essential items in two off-site locations, making personnel take longer to retrieve items if needed, Thompson said.

Police are making more arrests and responding to more service calls, leading to the increase, Thompson said. In 2009, officers made 61,749 responses, an average of 169 calls/contacts per day, according to the Police Department’s 2010 annual report. In 2010, officers made 71,757 responses, an average of 197 calls/contacts per day.

Within the past five years, felony arrests, which peaked with 441 in 2006, and were at 285 in 2008, were at 372 in 2010. Misdemeanor arrests, which peaked with 2,847 in 2007, were at 2,466 in 2010.

In 2010, the Police Department implemented quarterly audits of the property room. Officials are pleased with the outcomes, but said they revealed the serious lack of space. Property clerks are working to reduce the amount of property by obtaining legal permission to dispose of items no longer needed.

Glynda Chu, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department, said a reorganization effort is ongoing, and it is paramount due to limited storage space that the agency use every bit of space it has.

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Baseball bats and knives occupy space on a shelf in the Edmond Police Department's property room. MARK SCHLACHTENHAUFEN | THE EDMOND SUN

“We are doing all we can with the space we have,” Chu said. “The lack of space touches every department at the police station.”

Thompson said the property room has about 5,000 square feet worth of storage space, and plans put the actual need at about 8,213 square feet. Officials have said the existing facility is not safe for persons who are arrested, visitors or staff.

An often-discussed solution would be a proposed Public Safety Center. In 2008, voters nixed a property tax that would have funded a $31.4 million, 83,000-square-foot facility at Main and Kelly.

Following the defeat, city leaders have been cautious in their approach, including removing a property tax increase as an option for paying for the facility.

A 2005 needs assessment study revealed that Edmond’s downtown police station is outmoded due to its limited space and configuration. The proposed building would house the Edmond Police Department and the Public Safety Communications Department.

| 341-2121, ext. 108

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