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Police department settles in to its new digs

Bremerton Police Chief Craig Rogers demonstrates the self-closing evidence lockers at the new Art Morken Law Inforcement Center.  - Photo by Tracey Cooper
Bremerton Police Chief Craig Rogers demonstrates the self-closing evidence lockers at the new Art Morken Law Inforcement Center.
— image credit: Photo by Tracey Cooper

Natural light, an airy feel and plenty of space to grow are among the list of perks to the new Art Morken Law Enforcement Center. But more importantly the new police station puts all the officers and staff under one roof.

The Bremerton Police Department moved from its old City Hall location on Fourth Street to 1025 Burwell St. earlier this year, but on Friday it is rolling out the red ribbon to celebrate its grand opening.

A ribbon cutting is set for 10:30 a.m., April 27 followed by tours of the building until 12:30 p.m. On April 28 an open house for all Bremerton Police Department alumni begins at 11 a.m.

“It gives them a chance to see what we’ve been able to accomplish,” said Police Chief Craig Rogers.

That accomplishment is having one building dedicated solely to police department operations. Before this, officers were either downtown or in the West Precinct building on Auto Center Way.

The former Kitsap Credit Union headquarters still has the bones of a financial institution, but its facade and lower levels have been revamped. The front lobby is spacious and lined with windows – a far cry from the hallway lobby at the old location. Off the lobby, adjacent to the reception window, there’s a small media room where reporters can view reports. It’s shared with a fingerprinting station.

To the right of the front entrance is a community resource room with a large conference table and plenty of windows. It’s a place where block watch groups or other community groups can meet. The room doubles as an office for Andy Oakley, community resource specialist.

The old location didn’t have a community room, Rogers said.

“It helps bring people into our organization, which was cumbersome in the past,” he said.

The building’s main level was overhauled and includes a report writing area for patrol officers, sergeants area and office. People needing to take a blood alcohol test or who officers need to interview are brought in through a different entrance. The area also has a bathroom where the lights and flushing of the toilet are controlled from the outside.

All doorways, except for the main entrance are accessed by swiping a card. Not everyone has access to all the areas. The system also allows the department to audit the comings and goings of people.

The “sally port” outside includes a large evidence area, secured bike area, and a decontamination shower.

The evidence department includes a dry safe where items such as blood-spattered clothing is kept. It also has self-closing evidence lockers so that once items are placed there, no one but evidence personnel has access to them.

Downstairs there’s a “cardio room” with treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical machines. There’s also a gym-quality weight room, a womens and mens locker room and all the building’s mechanical systems.

On the second floor is the detective division, administrative offices, meeting rooms, three interview rooms and a break area.

“In the old building you’d go to the corner to a vacant desk and have lunch,” Rogers said.

The space and common areas are Rogers’ favorite aspects to the new building. That and the “ability to have all the officers and staff in one building,” he said.

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