BEDFORD, Va. – Bedford officers will have new workspaces soon.
According to Bedford Police Chief Ronnie Lewis, the department is crammed into its current headquarters.
“We’ve definitely outgrown this building,” said Lewis.
A Bedford officer gave 10 News a tour on Wednesday, taking us into the basement of the town’s municipal building, which the department has called home since the 1960s.
In their current space, workstations are on top of one another, visitors have to sit on a narrow bench in a tight hallway, the locker room barely fits two officers, and there are no weight rooms or showers.
“Right now, if there’s any contamination or anything like that, the officer will either have to go home or find somewhere else to go to take a shower,” said Lewis.
There was also a musky, mildew smell in the basement.
Lewis said since they’re lacking space, police must stack equipment along the walls and even inside old jail cells.
But the Bedford Town Council recently signed a contract with Wiley Wilson to design a new police station.
Town Manager Bart Warner told 10 News that the design alone costs $985,000 and could possibly be covered through the American Rescue Plan Act.
Warner said that the town council will see half of the layout around December, which will give leaders a better idea of what the total project would cost. Then, the architect will work on the other half of the design.
Lewis said his top priority is making officers feel at home, giving them more space to work, work out, shower, and eat.
The new headquarters would also include more storage space and community gathering areas.
“Our goal is to build a building that’s going to take us 30, 40, 50 years down the road,” Lewis said.
That new building is expected to be built down the road, in a gravel lot behind the Bedford courthouse.
“Bedford, being in a great location, is probably going to grow; so our department’s going to have to grow with that also,” Lewis said.
Lewis said the hope is to begin construction in 2023.