At the Raleigh Police Department’s old Northeast District station tucked at the end of a shopping plaza, space was so tight that officers shared lockers and cubicles.
Tight quarters weren’t the only problem for the district station, which serves more than 100,000 residents. The office off of Litchford Road wasn’t in the Northeast District, making it hard for people to find.
“If they needed something at the district, it wasn’t easy to get to,” said Capt. Judy Sholar, who serves as district commander.
In December, the district officers and staff moved into a 13,000-square-foot building off of Spring Forest Road. There’s plenty of space, with enough room to grow.
The department will host an open house of the district station on Thursday, welcoming the public to check out the new space. Sholar said she hopes the new location will help officers build stronger relationships with the community they serve.
The city is renting the building from a Durham-based IT company for $320,648 a year. The planning process and renovations took a little less than a year.
Raleigh has six police districts and leases space to house all of them except the downtown district building, which is owned by the city, police spokeswoman Laura Hourigan said.
The Northeast District is the most heavily populated, serving slightly less than a quarter of the city’s total population, according to John Boyette, communications director for the police department.
The new office is in the middle of the 28-mile district, which spans from New Bern Avenue to the border with Wake Forest and east from Capital Boulevard.
The area’s population is projected to increase 33 percent by 2030, according to the police department.
The new district station has a nearly 2,000-square-foot room in which officers can test people suspected of driving while under the influence.
In the past, Sholar said, officers had to drive to the Hammond Road Detention Center near downtown.
No other district station in Raleigh has its own DWI setup. Other law enforcement agencies will soon be able to use the Northeast District room as well, Sholar said.
For officers stationed at the building, the new space also has some perks. It has a larger weight room and new locker rooms, with a locker for each officer.
Sholar said officers seem most excited about that.
“Having their own tiny piece of property is important to police officers,” she said.