Douglas Police Department gets much-needed new building with room to grow

DOUGLAS, Ala. -- For decades the Douglas Police Department operated out of a room smaller than most bedrooms. For a while, it worked, but now the department is in a space officers and town leaders say leaves room to grow.

"Thirty-one years. Since 1986," said Douglas Police Chief Eric Speight. That's how long the Douglas Police Department operated out of a room at Douglas Town Hall. It worked back then and for the years after that, but things have changed. A few years ago the town started looking for a new building, and they found one.

The building has worn different hats. First a daycare then a store, but as luck would have it it's set up perfectly for what the department needed. It also came with a lower price tag and more room than some of the other options.

So now the department is operating out of a newly renovated building adjacent to the Douglas High School stadium. It has more space for document storage, a more secure evidence holding area and more room for the officers. There's also space to hold classes for law enforcement and for public safety.

It's a much-needed addition. To put it into perspective, "The old space was a 9 by 13 room," Speight said. "Actually, I think this office is probably bigger than the whole other department that we had."

"The building was large enough that we created a space for the ambulance service," explained Mayor Corey Hill. "So they're going to be coming into town to make a permanent residence here. We'll have 24-hour protection for the ambulance service. They're going to be placed right here by the school, living here full-time, so we're excited about that."

More space means room to grow. "If the city gets bigger, the police department gets bigger, whatever we need to do, we have the room here to do what we need to do to grow in the future," Speight said.

"We're really excited about moving forward with this," Hill said.