BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Lacombe Police Service (LPS) recently celebrated a victory many years in the making with the official grand opening of their new facility, an accomplishment to be appreciated for many years to come.
The new facility, located at 5301 Wolf Creek Drive, has long been an ambition of LPS members, the local Police Commission and City. Council first approved the project in 2014 after many years of discussion and band-aid upgrades to the previous home of LPS.
To mark the historic day, acting Police Chief Lorne Blumhagen was joined by Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kathleen Ganley, Mayor Steve Christie, Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law and a number of officials from the Lacombe Police Commission and Police Services.
“This is a fantastic day,” Blumhagen said, visibly proud to reveal the new facility.
“(The new facility) enables us to further our initiatives and hopefully provide an elevated level of service to the community,” he said.
“Our facilities will allow for us to extend our services and we’re really looking forward to providing that to our community.”
According to officials, the planning of the new facility has been in the works nearly a decade but truly began to take shape in March 2014, when Lacombe City council committed to a new facility and a design committee was formed.
The facility has been strategically planned and placed in accordance to growth and development needs that the City will face in years to come. The project came in at a cost of just under $9 million and included budgeted costs for the incoming regional wastewater line, localized dispatch and upgraded technical equipment and training.
The new LPS headquarters also features a more clean, welcoming entrance with a community room available for committee meetings, public interaction and educational purposes.
Mayor Christie said he’s happy with the potential of the building to help LPS better serve the community at large.
“I believe it is a municipality’s responsibility to ensure a police force has the proper tools they need to do the best job they can in serving their community and I believe this building will do that,” he said.
Christie and the other members of council have long deliberated about the new facility, working closely with stakeholders, builders and community members to address the needs of the growing community.
“The new police facility is a huge feather in our cap, and I’m proud to turn it over to the Police Services and commission.”
The original Lacombe Police Services facility, located on 50th Ave., was originally built in the 1950s and had served the community well, eventually requiring upgrades for equipment and space.
Meanwhile, the new facility has a bright, organized entryway which offers a much more welcoming feel to guests and visitors. This design was conscious in part with developing the new facility as a community space, where students, families, officials and police members can engage and build relationships.
Lacombe’s police service is one of the oldest in the province, and Minister Ganley said the construction and completion of the new facility is well-deserved in the community.
“I think it’s important for police to have the necessary tools available to them, and I’d like to give a big kudos to the City of Lacombe for being able to do this. I know it can be very challenging for any level of government to plan infrastructure builds because it tends to to be quite expensive, but it’s important to replace these facilities,” she said at the grand opening.
“Policing certainly has changed a lot and as populations increase throughout the province, it’s important to have the necessary infrastructure to support that.”
Blumhagen added into Minister Ganley’s statement, saying, “The Province of Alberta has policing standards that are overseen and audited by the Province, and this facility really helps us in assuring our compliance with those provincial standards and maintaining an advanced level of service to our community.”
The new building comes equipped with upgraded cell facilities, a localized dispatch office and new equipment, a garage bay for police vehicles and an in-house Victim Services unit. As well, a new probation services office was built into the new space.
The project took approximately a year and a half to complete but ultimately remained on schedule with its planned – and achieved – operational opening in October.
“The space and the facility are fantastic and the change from our old facility to this one is definitely a big positive step,” Blumhagen said recently.
At the opening, he said there were a few small challenges with the move to the new station, but the experience remained an overall positive one. He added LPS is enjoying the new facility and the members are looking forward to continuing to serve the community for many years to come.