Winona police are settling into their new station on Quitman Avenue.
Police Chief Roshaun Daniels said the new location better suits the needs of the department than the previous location at 608 Summit Street.
The new building at 116 Quitman Avenue is larger and offers better parking for department personnel as well as anyone conducting business at the station.
Daniels said prior to his joining the force, police personnel were split, operating between the two buildings.
“The administrator moved the administrators here [Quitman Avenue location], and the clerks and patrolmen stayed at the other building [on Summit Street]. The chief, the investigator and the captain stayed in this building. When I got here, we all went back to the police [station on Summit Street],” said Daniels.
He said the department operating in separate locations made several day-to-day activities difficult.
“You never know what [officers] did. ‘Did the night shift brief the day shift, and did the day shift brief the night shift on what went on?’ With the court clerks – your being over here and their being over there, you never knew what went on in court – getting case files together,” said Daniels.
Before the move, evidence was taken to the Quitman Avenue location, he said.
“The way they were putting away evidence over there was too open. Now, I got lockers. When the guys that are working – if they get any type of evidence – they’ll put it in the locker and lock it. Then the assistant chief will get it out and place it in the evidence room to transfer the evidence,” said Daniels.
Mayor Aaron Dees said the new location provides more space for personnel to work, and having every part of the department operating under one roof “just makes sense.”
“You’re not paying utilities at two buildings. That saves taxpayer money,” said Dees.
Being on Quitman Avenue also puts the station closer to judges.
“We can easily go next door and get paperwork signed. It works out good for the court system,” said Daniels. “If we need to get a warrant signed, we can just go right next door instead of faxing or emailing them a warrant and their emailing it back.”
Their new location provides a higher level of safety for the clerks, keeping them separated from detainees and behind glass, he said.
“With the clerks being here, they feel safer behind the glass versus where they were,” Daniels said. “If we had to arrest somebody, we had to go through their workspace to get them to the back. And if we had an altercation with any one of them, we’d put [the clerks] in harms way because it’s so open right there. If anybody wanted to come in on them, by there being no windows for them to see them come in, they don’t know they’re in there until they get in.”
Dees, echoing Daniels’ concern and relief, said anything could have happened to the clerks in the previous location when detainees were being processed.
Daniels said the police being in the new station not only benefits the police force but also the city as a whole because it provides more police presence downtown.
“Previously, they had a lot of break-ins downtown,” said Daniels, adding one Summit Street business had been burglarized several times before he became chief. “Downtown is the busiest part during the day – a lot of traffic. At night, with them coming from the police department, they will be in the downtown area all through the night.”
Department personnel also has installed cameras near the new station, offering added security measures to local businesses, Daniels said.