Metro-East News

Metro East Police District Commission sets sights on new facility

The Metro East Police District Commission and architectural firm EWR Associates Inc. in Fairview Heights have reached an agreement to begin preliminary planning of a combined police facility for East St. Louis, Alorton, Brooklyn and Washington Park. EWR will be paid $10,500.

“We’re just paying the architectural firm to get a professional engineering estimate for the legislature to have for funding consideration,” said Calvin Dye, chairman of the board.

The commission does not yet have the funding it needs to build the new facility. Once a cost to build the facility is determined, Dye said they can present it to the state legislature to consider funding in a future capital development bill.

“A new modern facility where these officers can store evidence and records and do good police work is an important part of continuing to improve the effectiveness and integrity of these departments,” Dye said.

The fact a new police facility is in the works to house evidence is good news, according to East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Floore.

“We do need a facility to house our evidence that is clean and dry and has the capacity to have the evidence organized in a manner that keeps it safe until it is needed at trial,” he said. “Evidence is a key part of any prosecution. And, the way it is housed is critical. I am happy to see this going forward.”

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly, who is a member of the commission and the chief prosecutor in St. Clair County said, “Credible, reliable law enforcement with infrastructure that meets professional standards is not just a matter of criminal justice. You have no chance of breaking the cycle of poverty if a community isn’t safe and if citizens don’t have faith in the police.”

Earlier this month, Kelly announced his office would no longer accept any criminal cases from the Brooklyn Police Department for a number of reasons including the department’s lack of control over access to the evidence vault.

EWR is expected to have its initial estimate done this month. The new facility will include an evidence vault, records storage, offices, interview rooms, a training area and detention cells.

The commission is looking at three sites: the former East St. Louis police station on Collinsville Avenue, the old Clark School on State Street and an area near the federal courthouse, according to the minutes of a Metro East Police District Commission meeting.

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.