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Jefferson County Sheriff's Dept. moving to new home in Bardane

Department's new headquarters will be ready by the end of next week

Department's new headquarters will be ready by the end of next week

May 16, 2008|By Dave McMILLION

BARDANE, W.VA. -- For as long as anyone can remember, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department has been in downtown Charles Town, W.Va.

Before its current location in the Mason building along Washington Street, the department was around the corner in the former Jefferson County Jail.

This week, they're moving out.

Starting Wednesday, sheriff's department members, with the help of movers, began setting up shop in the department's new headquarters in the Bardane Industrial Park about five miles north of Charles Town.

The new facility off Wiltshire Road is one of three new Jefferson County government buildings that were completed recently at a cost of about $12 million. An existing building in the business park was stripped out on the inside to make way for the new sheriff's department, which cost about $2.5 million.

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The new headquarters reflects a movement across the country toward more secure law enforcement facilities, Lt. Dave Colbert said.

All exterior walls and windows are bulletproof, and there are earthen barriers in front of the building to prevent anyone from trying to ram the department with a vehicle. The barriers were constructed over concrete forms to give them strength, Colbert said.

Visitors to the building will enter through a front entrance and talk to a receptionist through bulletproof glass.

Jefferson County Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober has had concerns about operating in the Mason building, particularly because deputies had to escort prisoners through a parking lot into the building.

"If they got loose, they were running through Charles Town," Sgt. Shannon Sell said.

At the new station, a deputy transporting a prisoner will enter a code on a keypad to enter a gated parking lot. The deputy will drive across the lot and enter a code on another keypad to enter an enclosed bay.

If a prisoner gets away from a deputy while being removed from a cruiser, the inmate is confined to the bay, Colbert said.

From the bay, prisoners are brought past a decontamination sink that can be used in case chemicals such as mace were used in the arrest, Colbert said.

Prisoners then can be taken to one of two holding cells, which are surrounded by concrete for security, Colbert said. A surveillance camera is mounted in each cell, and there is a heavy steel door with a small door where papers or a meal safely can be delivered to a prisoner, Colbert said.

Deputies had to share work areas in the Mason building, but the new headquarters offers 28 work stations for the department's 26 deputies. There are five wall-mounted televisions throughout the building where police can monitor cable news stations or use them to monitor training in another room, Colbert said.

A training room with a capacity of 35 has a drop screen and a PowerPoint system.

In another nearby room, a one-way window allows deputies to look into an adjoining room without people in that room being able to see deputies, Colbert said. That will allow deputies to observe interrogation of suspects and watch - for example - for any nervous traits that might suggest possible guilt from a suspect, Colbert said.

There is a secure area to store chemical munitions such as tear gas, and a room that will allow deputies to better prepare evidence in cases, Colbert said.

When asked what kind of evidence processing area the department had before, Colbert said, "We had nothing. We just used whatever space we had on our desk."

Department officials hope to be moved into the new building by the end of the week.

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