Metro-East News

New metro-east police station open for tours this weekend

Get a sneak peek at Belleville's new police station

If you don't want to wait for or can't make the open house on Saturday, here is a first look at the new, $10 million Belleville Police station. Get an insider's view without joining the force or committing a crime. Get the 360-degree view by click
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If you don't want to wait for or can't make the open house on Saturday, here is a first look at the new, $10 million Belleville Police station. Get an insider's view without joining the force or committing a crime. Get the 360-degree view by click

A dispatch center built to withstand an F-5 tornado, increased prisoner capacity and a community room are three of the improvements that come with Belleville Police Department’s new headquarters.

The $10 million expansion is nearing completion at 720 W. Main St., and the public is invited to check out the new police station this weekend.

The public will be able to tour Belleville’s new police headquarters, which includes a three-story building, an extended sally port and a parking garage fit to store the police department’s entire fleet. An open house and ceremony is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The new police headquarters was previously the Bank of Belleville building. The Bank of Belleville moved into its newly constructed building at 215 S. Illinois St. in August.

Belleville Sgt. Mark Heffernan provided the Belleville News-Democrat with a sneak peek of the newly-renovated station on Wednesday.

The main floor includes a lobby that is set to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a records division accessible to the public, a community room, a dispatch center with five consoles, a detention center, interview rooms, an evidence room, an area for processing inmates and an attached sally port built large enough to fit eight Belleville police cars.

“You can’t help but to go through this building and be excited about the future of the Belleville Police Department,” Heffernan said.

With more space, Heffernan also said the police department will increase its prisoner capacity, allowing up to six females, 20 males and additional space for juvenile suspects on temporary hold. Bringing in and housing prisoners on the first floor accounts for safety, Heffernan explained.

“When a prisoner comes to the Belleville Police Department at this facility, they will remain on the first floor the entire time. There’s no navigating steps, there’s no putting them in an elevator,” Heffernan said, referencing the agency’s current set-up. “That’s going to go a long way to the safety of both the prisoner and the officer.”

You can’t help but to go through this building and be excited about the future of the Belleville Police Department.

Belleville Police Sgt. Mark Heffernan

The second floor is set to hold the police department’s investigations bureau, patrol briefing room, five interview rooms, a new training and fitness center and locker rooms for Belleville’s 85 sworn-in officers. The police department has a total of 111 employees.

“We have office space for all of our investigators in one room, which is a switch from the current facility where detectives are currently even being housed in closets,” Heffernan said. “This will greatly improve the efficiency of these detectives.”

The top floor is set to house the department’s administration, including the chief’s office, as well as extra space for future growth.

Outside the building, police will have access to a new parking garage, which is set to hold all police vehicles, including trailers and tactical vehicles. Heffernan said for the first time, their mechanic and vehicle maintenance employees will be housed on campus. Before, police said they were located at the city’s parks and recreation department.

“This will help us in a variety of ways, not only in efficiency and public safety, but with recruiting and acquiring new officers,” Heffernan said. “It’s going to completely change the way that we do business, and we’re excited about it. It brings us into the modern age.”

Kaitlyn Schwers: 618-239-2526, @kaitlynschwers

Want to go?

  • What: Belleville Police Department dedication and open house
  • When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: 720 W. Main St., Belleville
  • Refreshments provided
  • Parking available in front of the police department and additional parking available at 510 W. Main St.
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