New Savannah-Chatham Metro Police facility unveiled - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

New SCMPD facility unveiled

The new SCMPD Administrative Services Center on Edwin Street. The new SCMPD Administrative Services Center on Edwin Street.
Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson and SCMPD Police Chief Willie Lovett (Source: SCMPD) Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson and SCMPD Police Chief Willie Lovett (Source: SCMPD)
(Source: SCMPD) (Source: SCMPD)

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police have a new place to call their own on Edwin Street. Besides its headquarters on Oglethorpe Avenue, there are no other buildings metro and the city owns. They rent their spaces. 

On Thursday that changed - and it's part of a bigger project. 

The new Administrative Services Center houses the SCMPD budget office, administrative services division, quartermaster, the gang unit and a secure property and evidence room.

The ribbon cutting took a few seconds, but the planning, discussion and renovations on the former site of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's insect research lab took on took more than a decade to complete.

"It sat here idle for a while and then we had this vision," said Pearl Spaulding of Feiler Terrace.

The building is the former U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's insect research lab, commonly known as the "bug farm". The federal government donated the building and its surrounding 9.2 acres of land to the city in 2001 under the premise that it be used for law enforcement purposes, according to the SCMPD.

So even though the "bug farm" - as neighbors used to call it - sat vacant, the Feiler Terrace community says they feel included again. 

"We've been isolated over here, because there's a canal you see that divides our neighborhood, so this side was always a dormant side. It didn't get much activity, but to but now we're part of the action," Spaulding said.

Residents can come to the 27,000-square-foot facility with questions and concerns or even check if any of their property has been received. It's that bridging the gap between community and police that Police Chief Willie Lovett sees as critical to community relationship building.  

"It was kind of nice to get invited to this part of it," Spaulding said.

Lovett said he was worried just six months ago about how the building would shape up.

"I came out to visit a few times and I guess that was the wrong thing to do because it just didn't seem like things were moving like they should. It was my expectation not that they were doing anything wrong - but it turned out great," he said.

The renovations for the former USDA building cost $4.5 million, which was all Special Local Option Sales Tax funds. The next phase is a new police training center on the same site.

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