involved whether it was appropriate to move police operations into the two-story 60,000 square-foot building located along the city’s waterfront.
“When I came on as chief, they told me that I was going to get this new building,” said Vallejo police Chief Shawny Williams. “They told me how much of a recruitment tool this building would be to attract qualified applicants.”
Williams spoke prior to staff presenting the zoning changes to the seven-person commission.
He said the current police station, located on Amador Street, has no space to provide emergency services, nor is there any additional office space. He noted there is no room at the current headquarters for the new public information analyst
— tasked with being the department’s spokesperson.
Williams also addressed concerns about police leaving with sirens blaring from the new proposed station, stating that such occurrences are unlikely as most of the time, officers are deployed around the city, patrolling one of the eight beats in Vallejo.
Councilman Hakeem Brown, addressing the commission from the speaker’s podium, advocated for the new police building. Since the idea was first brought up, Brown has been a supporter of the project.
“That is no way for employees to work (in),” Brown said about the current headquarters, which have suffered from asbestos and lead contamination, and along with access issues. “There is an urgency here — we don’t have all day.”
A report prepared for the city concluded there would not be any significant impacts in traffic, noise, or
Opposition to the proposed move includes concerns with future flooding of the area due to climate change, safety of residents and guests during events along the waterfront, and the costs associated with renovating the 15-year-old building for police use.
In February, the council approved spending $13.4 million to buy the building. Costs have ranged between $10 to 20 million to renovate the building for police use — including installing a ballistic rated wall along most of the building.
There are also plans to build a 2,400-square foot physical training building and a 7,175-square foot service building.
Commission Vice Chair Peggy Cohen-Thompson said it was “very fitting” to have the station near the transit center, shopping, City Hall as it tied in with the downtown.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Chris Platzer expressed concerns with the project, stating that there are numerous issues, including possible flooding.
“It’s not a permanent facility,” he said.
Commissioners J.R. Matulac, and Kathleen Diohep voted against the action. The commission also voted down a separate motion from Diohep recommending the council look at other areas in the immediate vicinity about possible use as a police station.
That motion was defeated 4-3 with Diohep, Matulac and new Commissioner Thomas Judt approving the recommendation.
The current State Farm Insurance building on Mare Island Way is the possible new home of the Vallejo Police Department.