(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 1, 2016)
Royal Oak, MI – In the dispatch area of the Royal Oak Police Department, a semi-colon is worn into the tiles where the wheels of office chairs have rubbed the surface like a worry stone for decades.
Stains soaked and dried into the ceiling tiles and streamed down the walls show signs of leaking pipes, roof issues. By the main door used by officers, the salt and sand has worn gouges in the marble floor and the door above it looks tattered.
In a rare and risky situation, prisoners are kept in cells with metal bars, increasing the risk of suicide or injury.
Through the building storage issues and layout issues are apparent, with the most obvious being that the cells are upstairs. In the elevator there is a sliding metal grate to turn the elevator into a partial cell for the ride up or down. The prisoner is monitored from downstairs, so if there is a problem – like a medical emergency, time could be lost in getting up there.
The lobby is also an issue. With little space for visitors to fill out reports or for comfortable conversations, the space is not welcoming for the public or practical for the staff that interacts with them. For those with accessibility issues, getting around in the tight spaces is a challenge.
The oc115 took an impromptu tour of the building after a press conference in May to see firsthand the damage that has been brought up in public discussions of the building.
The City of Royal Oak is in the process of a plan that would tear down City Hall and the Police Station, leaving those areas for park, while a new City Center would include a large office building with space for municipal offices, and a new police station built near the courthouse. Details of the plan can be found in this previous article.
The project, if approved, will be a welcome change for officers, staff, and detainees said Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue who once had a detainee’s feces land on his desk because of an issue with the floor drain in the cell.
O’Donohue and his staff made recommendations about the design of the new station. Having the cells on the main floor is one of them, though the concern is more over accessibility to the detainee in the event of an emergency, and safe transport, rather than the risk of falling poop.
Community discussion of the City Center project continues, with some residents expressing concern over the $100 million price tag (half of which would come from the City and half from the developers), and some looking forward to an active city center and a more effective work environment for the police and other city staff.
Read more about the project at http://oaklandcounty115.com/2016/04/19/royal-oak-community-hears-plans-for-new-city-hall-park-and-police-station/.
Also, the ROPD’s annual report gives an inside look at various police functions that people may not be aware of. Check that out at http://oaklandcounty115.com/2016/05/22/royal-oak-police-annual-report-shows-more-than-just-the-numbers/.