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Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 4:26 pm | Partly Cloudy 61º


Santa Maria Police Department Makes Move to New, ‘Modern’ Station

The West Betteravia Road building, four times the size of the old facility, features a state-of-the-art crime lab, a larger detective bureau and new phone extensions

Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin stands in the hallway of the department’s new station on West Betteravia Road. The $30 million facility will open Monday.
Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin stands in the hallway of the department’s new station on West Betteravia Road. The $30 million facility will open Monday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Crime lab equipment, a coffee machine and thousands of pieces of evidence were already in place as moving day arrived Friday for the Santa Maria Police Department. 

The new police station at 1111 W. Betteravia Road will open Monday with new phone extensions, a state-of-the-art crime lab, a larger detective bureau and more.

The longtime station at 222 E. Cook St. closed for public business at noon Thursday so workers could complete the move into the new facility.

“I think it is so exciting for nearly 200 employees to leave a 63-year-old building that was designed for 25 people to go to a state-of-the-art, what I will say is, the most modern police facility in California,” Chief Ralph Martin said. 

The $30 million facility will replace an old station built when the city had 15,000 residents. Today, Santa Maria has 102,087 residents, making it the largest city in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

In 2008, the city purchased the 70,000-square-foot building once used by Lockheed Martin Corp. to modernize equipment used to monitor just-launched rockets and missiles. Rental income from the former tenant helped the city fund the police station renovation.

Four times the size of the old police station, the Betteravia building now is the largest city facility, exceeding even the new Santa Maria Public Library that opened in 2008. 

Features inside the new station were designed to meet the needs of modern law enforcement efforts along with simply giving staff more room to operate. 

Interview rooms have closed circuit cameras that can be monitored by detectives sitting in another room. The standard two-way window mirrors are history.

“We got rid of those. It’s all high-tech now,” Martin said. 

SMPD station
The briefing room of the new Santa Maria police station has some finishing touches already in place, including the Hook of the Month highlighting the best arrest. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Earlier, employees moved thousands of pieces of evidence into the much larger room in the new station.

“It’s the biggest room in the entire building,” Martin said. 

A handful of people undertook moving the evidence, a monumental task as they needed to make sure the chain of custody involved as few people as possible to avoid future challenges in court. 

“My hat’s off to them. They did an incredible job,” Martin said.

While some finishing touches remained to be added Friday, others, such as the Hook of the Month plaque to celebrate the best arrest, already were installed.

The future home of public safety dispatchers inside the station sits empty for now since they will stay at the old building and are expected to relocate to the Betteravia station in a few months. Raised flooring hides the plethora of necessary equipment for the vital emergency communications. 

City officials hope to sell the Cook Street building, and intend to use the funds to renovate the old library facility to house Community Development Department staff now in Pine Street offices. 

While the main police business phone number will remain 805.928.3781, extensions changed from three to four digits, by adding a “2” in front of existing numbers. For example, to dial the Records Bureau, the old number was extension 590; the new extension will be 2590. 

To schedule Live Scans and get fingerprint information, callers will now need to dial 2465 instead of the old 465 extension. Callers with emergencies should dial 9-1-1.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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