Hendersonville – The new Hendersonville Police Station operates as a beacon for law and order as well as modern technology, spacious accommodations and prudent funding.
Tours of the facility were held during a two-hour open house early this month, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Police Chief Blair Myhand, Mayor Barbara Volk and other city officials spoke.
“This new facility is truly the community’s building,” Chief Myhand said. “This state-of-the-art police station allows us to better protect and serve our residents and visitors.”
Myhand credited Police Support Services Capt. Tracey Cox with “championing” planning details of ADW Architects’ design. Edifice General Contractors served as the construction manager.
Police moved various operations into the building in phases, starting Sept. 30. Dispatch moved into there on Oct. 6, city spokesperson Allison Justus noted.
The new site is at 630 Ashe Street, between Martin Luther King (Four Seasons) Boulevard and Seventh Avenue. Police were in City Hall’s Sixth Avenue side, at King Street, after City Hall was remodeled in 2004. In 1970-2004 police HQ was across the street at 127 Sixth Ave., sharing a small structure with water-sewer workers. The earliest known HPD sites were on Main Street circa 1900, then in City Hall in 1929-69.
“I’m excited,” Cox said about the new HQ. “This is the first time we’ve had a facility
specifically for police to use.”
The current site provides quicker response time to Seventh Avenue commercial and residential districts where officials note there is an above-average crime rate. Greater police presence tends to deter crime. It can also raise the sense of security and the value of nearby properties.
The structure is home to 59 full-time employees of which 47 are sworn officers, and 20 part-timers.
The $11.7 million pricetag for the entire project is funded by a 30-year loan at a low rate of 2.18 percent, according to City Mgr. John Connet. The loan is a federal agricultural Rural Development loan.
Separate, Large Rooms
The two-story facility is 26,215 square feet. The largest room is the training/community room. It seats 80. Classes are held there for police or the public. The elongated room is near the locked, secure public entrance off Ashe Street. That makes it easier to lock off the rest of the facility during classes.
A dozen police personnel split tour guide duties to each tell about a unique room. Sgt. Cameron Singleton earned the 2019 police Lifesaving Award and a Knights of Columbus Shield Award for rescuing a man from a fire. He showed visitors the large patrol supervisor room. It spreads apart five desks.
Across the hall from it are two computer stations for patrol officers and detectives. Detectives Colby Allman and Zeff Childress showed it. Allman was the 2018 Police Officer of the Year. They like having their computers separate, to better concentrate. Spare video batteries are there.
When completing shifts, patrol officers download body camera video. The footage is stored and can be reviewed later if a complaint arises. Several said they like having proof of properly following procedures.
Lt. Bruce Darrah said transparency is also welcome from 24/7 cameras in the “suite” of three interview/interrogation rooms and the polygraph/lie detector station. He noted they are soundproof, for greater privacy and candor from witnesses.
Fingerprinting has its own area. So does records processing and storage. The 911 emergency dispatch is isolated. There are rooms for roll call and shift-starting BOLOs (be on the lookout for a crime suspect), and for weapons and ammunition.
In the back is a garage with a vehicle lift for evidence processing, parking for police motorcycles and even a departmental golf cart. Other rooms include kitchen/dining and an area for a gym, lockers and showers.
Drying Clothes for Prints
Evidence processing is especially intriguing and high-tech. Evidence Custodian Kathe Ingram explained such forensic machines as a fuming chamber. It vaporizes clothes or items to better reveal fingerprints. Disinfectant UV light removes moisture from clothes that were taken from crime scenes, to expose fingerprints and reduce mold growth during storage. The filter catches such potential “trace evidence” as hair and skin cells, Ingram noted.
The evidence lab large table’s stainless steel surface is easily scrubbed and disinfected. There are various evidence storage areas.
The opening ceremony included a posthumous medal of honor for officer Dennie Enevold — presented to his widow. Enevold was fatally shot while on duty in 1981. Lt. Darrah noted it happened in eyesight of the new station. A large mural of Enevold by David Soileau is in the main entrance. A monument to Enevold is just outside.
For more on the station and department, check www.hvlnc.gov/police.