GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller is proposing a new headquarters for the Greenville Police Department.
He presented the idea to City Council on Monday. He says it’s getting harder to make the current Law Enforcement Center work because it’s outdated and overcrowded.
“It’s just not very functional anymore for us, and the building has run it’s lifespan,” Chief Miller said.
The LEC was built in 1976. It houses both the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and the Greenville Police Department, and both agencies have grown quite a bit over the years.
“We have people in the same unit who are working between floors or between buildings…And, it’s disruptive to the continuity of operations,” Miller said.
The new space would be home to the police department, fire administration and the municipal court.
The police department also uses space in the current municipal court on North Main Street. The chief says that building has mold issues and is beyond repair.
“Having those individuals placed in the same building allows for a lot more collaboration,” said Jil Littlejohn, the Greenville Mayor Pro Tem. “A lot more partnership and hopefully better results for the citizens and city of Greenville.”
Chief Miller estimates a new facility would cost anywhere between $16 and $33 million dollars. The lower end would be a renovated currently existing building, and the higher end cost would be for new construction.
He says he has two locations that he prefers. One is near Pleasantburg Drive and 385.
“Pleasantburg basically bisects the city of Greenville…Police response time, anywhere in the city, perspective, that’s the ideal location if we’re not going to go downtown,” Miller said.
However, downtown he says would be the best location, and there are even a few buildings that could work for the new space. He says if the department moves downtown they would possibly create a new “Entertainment District Unit”.
“it increases police presence downtown which is important and the number of marked cars,” Miller said.
He also stressed the importance of being near the downtown transportation hub which city council members agreed was important.
“We don’t want that to be a barrier to them for having positive interactions with the police department,” Littlejohn said.
Miller says starting the process of a new headquarters is critical as the city continues to grow.
“All we’re trying to do is get ahead of the curve to continue to provide the kind of services and safety that people would expect from the police department,” Miller said.
The next steps will be for the police chief, fire chief, city judge, and city manager to work together to come up with proposals and a possible location. Then, council will vote on it.