Shreveport city leaders discuss options for police headquarters, fire station closure
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Shreveport City Councilman Grayson Boucher revealed a new option for the a new police headquarters.
He said he thinks the old Sears building, next to St. Vincent Mall, is a good place for the city’s officers.
“We talked about a couple different buildings a couple years ago, but the Sears building just kept coming back,” Boucher said.
He said the current station on Texas and Murphy streets is not in good shape.
“We hear a lot about property standards and people living in deplorable conditions; it’s deplorable,” Boucher said.
Shreveport Police Chief Ben Raymond agrees, and he said he wants to get more input from the younger officers.
“For many of the officers, we’ll be retired by the time this is done, so I’d like to go to the younger officers to see what they think about it,” Raymond said.
As it stands right now, it will cost the city about $33,068,304 to build the new station in the old Sears building. To build one from the ground up, it will cost even more money.
Boucher said he expects this project to take at least a few years, especially since it will depend on the outcome of the bond proposal.
“You’re looking at November for the bond issue. If it passes, they have to issue the bonds. You’re looking at probably a four-year project before you can get a new police station.”
When asked about a back-up plan, in case the bond proposal fails, Boucher said, “I don’t think there is back-up plan.”
During the public safety committee meeting Thursday, Boucher said the city is in a “public safety emergency.”
“We’re in a situation where we’re going to have to say, ‘we want to support our police officers; we want to support our firefighters,’ or we need to realize level of service is going to drop.”
Fire Chief Scott Wolverton addressed recent fire station closures, saying the main reasons are lack of staffing and equipment issues.
“As fire chief, I feel responsible, because our citizens expect their fire stations to be open; they expect to have someone respond immediately when they call 9-1-1,” Wolverton said.
He said pay is not competitive with private companies; plus, he said it takes time to hire on new staff.
“We’re hiring as fast as we can, but it takes about 2 years to replace a firefighter,” he said.
Another issue is old fleet, as some engines are well over 30-years-old.
Copyright 2021 KSLA. All rights reserved.