TO THE EDITOR:
James Clark is spot on in his Friday column about the cost of a new Police Department. But in my way of thinking, it is not about money. It is more about supporting the people who support you.
I believe the Red Road building is inadequate for the Police Department and for the city of McMinnville.
McMinnville Police Department provides an outstanding service to the community, yet they are housed in a very old and substandard facility. It takes a special kind of person to be a police officer.
They put their lives on the line to protect their community every day, yet they are tossed aside like yesterday’s newspaper. When people run from danger, police officers run into harm’s way.
Being a police officer is more than a job. It is a way of life, and most officers never leave home for work without knowing it could be their last time. They pursue fiends without becoming one.
They run through the sewers of life and don’t come out smelling rotten, but they are often housed in a smelly facility. Police officers, in their highly marked vehicles, are often the first representation a visitor has of a city. A professional police facility signifies to the community and to visitors the city is proud of its police department. It seems to me that McMinnville talks about being a top-class city, but they don’t want to walk the walk to look like a top-class city.
Perhaps my rant back at you is wrong, because it has been five years since I was there. Perhaps the building has been totally remodeled. Roof leaks were an issue. The bathrooms were grossly outdated. The HVAC system was unable to keep up with the needs.
Wearing a coat indoors in the winter is not fun. Floor fans were needed to stay cool in the summer. The building was retrofitted for the Police Department, but the shape and space was inadequate from the start.
Have you talked to the Police Department employees about the facility? They may not be honest with you about the facility because they might be concerned about their job.
If the city of McMinnville wants to continue to treat its first-class and highly decorated Police Department like second-class citizens, leave them on Red Road.
Charlie Sewell is former police chief for the city of McMinnville. He currently resides in Georgia.