June 1, 2023


Buy Law now

Change and New Law Enforcement Facilities

4 min read


No other public safety agency has been the target of relentless demands for change more than the law enforcement profession. With three high-profile deaths in the past three years, police departments have been under intense pressure and faced calls for accountability, transparency, reform and even defunding.

Bringing these issues home or back to the station, a concerted effort is ongoing to create significant designs in new law enforcement facilities to address and support law enforcement operations and personnel.

OFFICER Magazine’s Law Enforcement track at the 2022 Station Design Conference, May 24-26 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois, will feature the leading architectural firms specialized in law enforcement facilities. Conference speakers will present the latest trends and innovations in new law enforcement facilities, with a heightened focus on security and training.

Several related presentations will focus on the future of interactions between law enforcement, fire, public safety and emergency operation centers.

In planning for a new public safety building, given the current economic, social, and political climate, the priority is to create support and develop a productive dialogue across the community and create support.

Historically, conversations around new public safety buildings have been focused on costs, especially as buildings have become more complex. According to Rebecca Hopkins, Associate, AIA, (Project Manager, Emerging Technology) Tecton Architects (www.tectonarchitects.com), “Sensitivity to current issues, symbols and icons can have a tangible impact on community support, and correspondingly, on project success or failure.”

Hopkins, and Jeff McElravy, principal, Tecton, will present Going Further Together: The ‘Why’ Behind Mission-Driven Station Design Solutions and share lessons and exercises to emphasize how creating space for meaningful conversations can bring clarity to the issues while illuminating those that may be less obvious.

“Lessons demonstrate how to identify, communicate, and ultimately, design for complex issues like alignment with current policing trends,” says Hopkins. “These trends also include integration of social and mental health services, recruitment, community use and engagement, cultural changes capable of accepting diversity, inclusivity, equity and departmental transparency.”

Another priority in training spaces is an important aspect of new law enforcement facilities and can facilitate lowering a department’s overall liability and increase the overall safety of the public and officers alike. The Station Design Conference program, Finding Training Opportunities in Law Enforcement Facilities, will be presented by Sami Gerwick, associate, Architects Design Group, and Wayne Nero, former police chief, and current city manager, Georgetown, Texas.

“The single most important thing law enforcement leaders can do is provide holistic or full-spectrum training to officers with a solid focus on building competency within the realm of high risk/low-frequency responses rather than taking a ‘check the box’ approach to satisfying Federal and State training requirements,” says Gerwick.

Gerwick and Nero believe law enforcement leaders must create an atmosphere that can take officers from the classroom where knowledge is learned, to a reality-based environment where that knowledge can be practically applied in a controlled setting under varying degrees of stress, to finally a live-fire environment when and where applicable. Modern police facilities can address these needs by providing intentional and practical spaces to learn, practice, and perfect a variety of skill sets.

Designing facilities that allow for integration of training within the facility, or providing room on-site for future training opportunities, can alleviate the burden of added funding for separate training facilities, reduce the amount of travel time related to training for officers, avoid conflicts in scheduling with external departments and improve overall competency.

Interview rooms are another area of change in a new facility. For many years, interview rooms have been designed as a box with no windows, and depending on the lighting, the room can work against the officer to be able to have a conversation about an event they are investigating.

Jonathan Tallman, AIA, Associate Principal, Dewberry (www.dewberry.com), will present Interview Rooms—Not your Typical Room. He says, “Providing the officers with multiple settings for the interview can help put victims at ease or even put a suspect in a more relaxed state. In my opinion, this is why design is important to the space for the interview room from a psychological standpoint.”

Tallman believes interview room settings and audio/visual recordings can make a case. “In court, the recordings used should have clear audio and video. Audio from outside the room should not be able heard from outside in the corridor or in the adjacent room.”

While not all interview rooms are the same, different functions can be designed and integrated into interview rooms. Some options include settings and purposes for investigations, hiring, and report taking. Early planning and location of the interview space can also affect the everyday workflow of the office and the integration of technology into the design of the space.

Changes, optional, or required? What lies ahead for law enforcement? Many regulatory requirements have been placed upon police departments. The changes requested have affected police departments in more ways than imagined. Officer retention, recruitment, and morale in many departments have suffered and meeting mandated initiatives has been a challenge.

The Future of Policing Panel Discussion, moderated by Raymond Lee, AIA, FGM Architects, Inc., will include four police chiefs, representing a broad range of municipalities, discussing how change has affected their departments.

“This discussion is meant to expand your thinking about the future of your own police department and how your operations may need to change to meet the expectations of your community,” says Lee. “While moving beyond the status quo is difficult, it must be considered as any potential change may affect your facility needs.” Topics to be discussed include community outreach and engagement, training requirements, staff health and wellness, recruitment and retention, and security issues.


Source link

txapeldunegarri.com | Newsphere by AF themes.