WL police nearly finished with complex moving process

Photo Credit: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - West Linn Police Sergeant Dave Kempas stands next to file boxes recently moved into the new police station. At the old station, there were concerns that heavy files would cause the floor to collapse. Dave Kempas wanted to know if his computer was working.

Last Thursday afternoon — midway through the West Linn Police Department’s second day of moving into its new station — the veteran sergeant sat down at his new desk and jiggled the mouse.

“I came in today and this wasn’t working,” Kempas said. “It had been working yesterday afternoon.”

And then, after a pause: “Yes! Very nice.”

Things were beginning to fall into place for Kempas and his fellow officers, with the new police department well on its way to being fully operational by Aug. 25. The move from the old building — which was built in 1936 — has been filled with logistical challenges, even more so than Police Chief Terry Timeus could have imagined.

“There’s so much you don’t think about,” Timeus said. “The majority of us have never moved a police department. I moved into a new police department several years ago in Lake Oswego, but I didn’t facilitate any of the planning and I didn’t realize all of the work that goes into it.”

Photo Credit: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - On Thursday, Timeus was well on his way to making his new office feel like home.

But now, he can see the finish line.

“We’re 95 percent done, other than putting things away,” Timeus said Thursday. “We have odds and ends we have to pick up, but for the most part it’s here.”

The new station, located at 1800 8th Avenue, is designed to withstand a seismic design category D earthquake, provide emergency dispatch and operations capability and accommodate training, evidence processing, storage, operations, communication and staffing needs for officers and K-9 units.

The project is the result of an $8.5 million general obligation bond measure approved by voters in November 2011. The old police station on Willamette Drive, according to Timeus, was no longer equipped to serve the department adequately.

After an 11 month construction process, the city held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new police station Aug. 11, and the department began the moving process shortly thereafter.

Timeus said the biggest challenge was transferring evidence.

“We’ve got to maintain chain of custody and there’s only two people that work in the police department who have access to the evidence,” Timeus said. “So they’ve got to physically touch each piece, put each piece in a box, seal it, get it loaded in a moving van … and then they have to escort it with police officers and it has to be checked in (at the new station).”

Photo Credit: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Sergeant Neil Hennelly stayed in plain clothes while moving into his new office.

Timeus estimated that the department moved several years’ worth of evidence from one building to the other. And then there were the files.

On Thursday, a wall of white cardboard boxes lined the floor just outside the record storage room. It would take some work to have them all in the right place, but Timeus said there was a method to the madness.

“(Records) have to be retained for a certain period of time,” Timeus said. “My records staff did an outstanding job organizing and make sure it’s organized in chronological order, so the unpacking will be a lot easier.”

And longtime officers like Kempas are pleased to even have a records storage room in the first place.

“Records storage was very haphazard at the old building,” Kempas said. “The file cabinets had to be put around the outside perimeter of the building because they weighed too much and we were afraid the floor would fall.”

It’s just one of the many features the new building has to offer. Monitors all around the station will project surveillance footage from the outside perimeter (as of Thursday, the monitors had yet to be turned on). An expansive new briefing room houses another large monitor that connects to computer dispatch and the Internet, while also working as a virtual whiteboard. Detectives have their own sealed-off unit to work from, and each Sergeant also has his or her own office space for the first time.

“It’s so much more efficient,” Timeus said. “Everything is state of the art … we’ve got room to be here for 40 to 45 years and not have to worry about running out of room.”

Contact Patrick Malee at 503-636-1281 Ext. 106 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Photo Credit: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Heavy duty moving operations began Wednesday, and by Thursday the department was 95 percent moved in according to Police Chief Terry Timeus.

Photo Credit: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Among the new amenities at the new station is a digital white screenboard in the briefing room.

Photo Credit: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - A glistening map of West Linn greets visitors as they enter the new station's lobby.

Photo Credit: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The new police station is on schedule to be fully operational by Monday.

Photo Credit: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - As a keepsake from the old station, police imported this neon sign and placed it in the new lobby.

Photo Credit: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The expansive new station will keep the department comfortable with plenty of room to grow for the next 40 to 45 years, Timeus said.

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