Brooksville police officers now have about four times as much room to work, and they're about eight times as happy, Police Chief Ed Tincher says. "I'd say morale has increased about 800 percent, and I'm being conservative," Tincher said.
Thursday was the first day the department began operating out of its new building on Veterans Avenue, just off West Jefferson Street.
Among the improvements:
The new building has 6,000 square feet. At the old police headquarters on E Liberty Street, the department's 29 full-time employees were squeezed into 1,600 square feet.
Each detective now has his own office. Previously, the two detectives, the lieutenant who supervised them and a secretary all worked out of a room about the size of a small living room.
Each patrol officer on shift has a cubical to do paper work. In the old building, officers had to share one narrow counter.
The building on Veterans Avenue smells like fresh paint and new carpet. The old one smelled like stale coffee and airborne dust.
The new building also has interview rooms, a conference room and a weight room with lockers and showers.
"You can't imagine the difference," Tincher said. In the office on East Liberty, employees worked "wherever we could find a hole to put somebody. . . . Now people can start to do their work without tripping all over one another."
"I love it," communications Sgt. Linda Nabors said.
The building, built by Greater Bay Construction Inc. of Tampa, cost $442,544, said Bill Geiger, the city's director of development. Geiger said he was pleased that the project came in only slightly over budget and on schedule.
After the old police building is thoroughly cleaned and some renovation work is done, Geiger said, the development department will move into it.