AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – The Aiken Public Safety Headquarters is pushing the limits of space in the current building.
The original structure was built-in the 1970’s for a staff of 60 people, but now Public Safety has grown to employee nearly 140 officers.
Earlier this week a proposal was presented to Aiken City Council showing different options for creating a space that will be big enough to overcome the overcrowding now and in the future.
Aiken Public Safety Lieutenant Jason Mahoney gave NewsChannel 6 a walk through to show us just how necessary the upgrades are.
Police officers and firefighters that serve the City of Aiken are all under the same roof.
Until the late 1990’s a part of the facility didn’t exist. Lieutenant Mahoney says even with the new additions the building just can’t accommodate everyone.
“We have offices that were once storage,” Mahoney told WJBF NewsChannel 6.
It was built as a multi-use facility, but overtime the department has expanded to include other services.
“The need for our own forensic facilities,” Mahoney said. “A laboratory.”
The Lieutenant says at one time this used to be a holding cell for Public Safety, but now it’s used as a place to store evidence.
Using spaces for something other than its intended use, is a common sight at the headquarters.
While the overcrowding is something the officers have learned to live with, Mahoney says rebuilding or remodeling presents its own set of challenges.
“To continue our existing fire ratings and fire coverage, our headquarters, fire department, needs to maintain its locations at a very close proximity to where it is now.” Mahoney said.
WJBF NewsChannel 6 obtained the proposals presented to council from the firm hired by the City of Aiken.
Mahoney says whether the city decides to demolish the current building or remodel it – they need to carefully consider where to locate Public Safety for the time being.
“So I mean at this point it couldn’t move?” Asked WJBF NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.
“It could move but not very far.” Mahoney answered.
Another challenge the Aiken Department Public Safety faces is the need for parking spaces for the officers, fire department, staff and the Municipal Court.
Aiken City Council has not decided on plans at this time.
Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story.