Q&A with Brett Evans
City of Residence: Kathleen
Occupation: Chief, Warner Robins Police Department
QUESTION: How has the Warner Robins Police Departments new facility made residents safer, more secure?
ANSWER: The best thing is it brings a greater efficiency. Its brought more of our police functions under one roof. Efficiency, communication and interaction are all critical in this line of work. Theres also the aspect of morale. Having such a nice place to operate from is a great benefit.
QUESTION: How long has the department been operating from the new facility?
ANSWER: Since May.
QUSTION: What was the cost?
ANSWER: $9.45 million.
QUESTION: There were years of back and forth choosing a location. How is the site at Watson Boulevard and Ga. 247 near Robins Air Force Base working?
ANSWER: After all is said and done, its working well. We have no problem getting in or out of the property, and it works well as a focal point for this part of town. For lack of better words, I think it shows that the city put its money where its mouth is and let citizens know it cares about the whole town.
QUESTION: How does square footage compare from the old building to the new?
ANSWER: We have about two and a half times more square feet than where we came from on Young Avenue. From the 16,000-18,000 range there to 43,000 here.
QUESTION: How many personnel are in it?
ANSWER: About 135 to 140 of our 155 employees work out of here. One division and a special unit operate from an office on Green Street, and our school resource officers operate from a school office.
QUESTION: Whats being done with the old place?
ANSWER: Its being evaluated by Mayor (Chuck) Shaheen, the Downtown Development Authority and the Regional Development Authority.
QUESTION: How about the possibility of other precinct-style offices in the city?
ANSWER: There are actually plans in place for possibly putting a precinct office in with the new fire facility on (Ga.) 96, and were looking at another one on North Houston Road, but its a bit preliminary to talk about that one. We do have a precinct office now at the Lake Joy fire facility.
QUESTION: What was the best overall thing about the move?
ANSWER: Everybodys excitement and attitude moving in. We had so many years in the old building with heating and cooling problems, electrical problems and problems with leaks. To get in and set up and have a nice space for everyone goes a long way.
QUESTION: Worst thing?
ANSWER: To be honest, the worst side of it was just having to go through so much of the old stuff and make sure we didnt carry over things we didnt need. The department was there since the 60s, and a lot of things got stockpiled. It was a lot of work going through everything and deciding what needed to be kept, stored or thrown out. I guess its like moving houses -- you dont realized what all you have. But it was fun going through some things and brought back a lot of memories. There were some interesting finds.
QUESTION: Like what?
ANSWER: Like finding old agency-wide pictures with everybody in them that had been put away. Were looking for places to hang them here and are working on a new department-wide composite shot now ourselves.
QUESTION: How do you like your own new office?
ANSWER: You know, Im loving every aspect of it. Its nice to have windows. In the old office, Id joke that the only way I knew it was raining outside was because of the leaks. We had one wall in the old building we called the Zen wall because when it rained it looked like a waterfall.
QUESTION: Obviously the years of planning and waiting have been worth it.
ANSWER: Very much so. Were very proud to be here and I and the department are thankful to all those that made it possible. Were appreciative to the public for passing the SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) for it. I hope they understand its money well spent and that we try every day to serve the community in a professional capacity. This building helps us do our job to the fullest extent possible.
Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at email@example.com.