Issues & Challenges

The Fourth Street police facility has been remodeled many times to accommodate the services and staff required to meet the community’s need for a modern and effective police facility.   

The current location has significant accessibility and emergency response challenges.  Installation of the US95 couplet system (Jackson Street one-way southbound and Washington Street one-way northbound) and the creation of Friendship Square resulted in the current Police Department being located on a dead-end street and accessible only by one-way streets or narrow alleys.  

A comprehensive assessment of the current Fourth Street facility was conducted in the City’s Facilities Planning process in 2015.  Given the results, the Moscow City Council prioritized the police facility as a major challenge area in the City’s Strategic Plan.  Outlined below are the needs identified in those plans.

City of Moscow Master Facilities Plan

Nearly all areas of the current police building are undersized and overcrowded, including the public lobby, report writing area, interview facilities, locker facilities, and especially property and evidence. Property and evidence are currently spread throughout the facility and several trailers located off site at the City Shop. The facility lacks physical fitness facilities and a multipurpose area that should serve as a community meeting room, defensive tactics training room, and an emergency operations center. 

City of Moscow Strategic Plan

Deteriorating, Substandard Police Facility - The current facility is located in downtown Moscow at the end of a cul-de-sac with the only outlets being an alley or a one-way major highway for all north-bound traffic. Due to this location, egress for emergency responses, risks for others in the roadway, and slower-than-necessary response times for those involved in an emergency cause significant risks to officers and citizens. Specific issues include: 

  • Lack of Secure Location. The building is in a location that makes it unsafe and vulnerable. Windows and doors are not bullet-proof, and the front lobby has no means to protect personnel or visitors. There are multiple vulnerable points of entry into the building, including the roof.
  • Lack of Space.  Overcrowding, incomplete compliance with disability standards, lack of storage space, and design issues have negatively impacted efficiencies to service delivery, productivity, and effectiveness.  The current building is structurally inadequate with increasing maintenance costs for plumbing, heating and cooling issues and leaks in the roof. Partial ADA compliance prohibits easy access to departmental services for the City’s diverse population. This lack of accessibility increases liability and affects citizen perception of the Police Department’s ability to accommodate every community member.
  • Insufficient Storage and Evidence Space.  The Property Technician is currently responsible for 7,540 items of property and evidence. In 2014 alone, space needs increased by 67%.  Evidence and property are housed in three places: the main evidence room, two converted jail cells and a storage container at the City Shop. The first two locations are inside the police department and account for 80% of all evidence storage and encompass 11,584 cubic feet. The storage container at the City Shop is inadequate, inconvenient and vulnerable to tampering. Insufficient storage space, coupled with a growing number of items received and the requirement to keep evidence (felony cases for five years and misdemeanors for one year), has caused serious overcrowding in the property room creating more significant potential for misplaced items, added time to locate evidence for court, and increased time to store and retrieve evidence.

Given the population growth the community has experienced since the 1960s and the proportionate increase in police staffing required to serve the city, the current facility is too small to meet its needs.