Nearly a year after it was originally scheduled, the Carbondale Public Safety Center offered tours of its new facility during the center’s open house and dedication ceremony Saturday.
At the ceremony, Carbondale Police Chief Jody O’Guinn said the modern and spacious facility at 501 S. Washington St. is an investment in the future
of the city.
“It represents not only a headquarters for police operations, but also a symbol of the collaboration between the police and the community to forge ahead in creating partnerships important to making our city a safer place to live,” he said.
O’Guinn also thanked citizens of Carbondale for their support of the project, saying the building of the facility would not be possible without them.
“This new public safety center is your tribute to all those who serve in it,” he said.
Carbondale Mayor Joel Fritzler dedicated the city’s public safety center in memory of Lenard “Lon” Sizemore, who is the only Carbondale police officer ever killed
on the job.
He said Sizemore was shot as he attempted to arrest Joseph Brinson for disturbing the peace in 1933.
“With the memory of the service and sacrifice of Officer Sizemore in our minds, I now proudly dedicate this building to Officer Sizemore and to the countless number of men and women that have served and currently serve the residents of Carbondale with patience, courage and honor,” he said.
Fritzler said the open house was delayed almost a year because winds from an April 19, 2011 storm tore off part of the roof one day after the building became operational.
Repairs to the building were completed in December.
Staff remained in the center during the reconstruction, he said, although some of the employees were relocated to different offices.
Following the ceremony, police officers led groups of visitors on tours of the renovated 32,648 square foot building.
“A very few people commit a lot of crimes,” Operations Commander Don Priddy said as he showed the prisoner intake area on the first floor, where criminal suspects are taken for processing.
The room had cinder block walls and a cement floor, and a small windowless holding cell occupied one corner of the room.
“We actually don’t use the holding facility too much,” Priddy said.
He said a suspect can’t be held in the cell for more than six hours. After that, he said, the person is either released on bail or transferred to Jackson County Jail.
Priddy said when a suspect is processed, his or her personal belongings are placed in a locker and his or her fingerprints are recorded by a digital scanning machine.
The fingerprints are then transmitted to the FBI’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System, where they are stored and possibly used in solving other crimes, he said.
Visitors also toured the center’s second floor, which houses the center’s administrative offices, victim’s advocacy services and a state-of-the art gym.
Priddy said although officers are not required to pass a physical fitness test after they complete their academy training, most of them use the workout room regularly to stay in shape.
Police officers sometimes patrol on bicycle, he said, particularly when students from SIUC are on vacation.
Priddy said the opportunity for theft is greater then because so many apartments are unoccupied.
“Bikes are used to patrol during student breaks,” he said. “They’re very good for sneaking up on people.”