New OPD headquarters taking shape

Published 8:34 am Monday, April 22, 2024

The early phases of the $12 million project to renovate the new Oxford Police Department headquarters are well underway, signaling a significant milestone for the department.

In 2021, the Oxford Board of Aldermen approved a plan to turn the former Oxford Enterprise Center into a new police headquarters to help accommodate the rapid growth of the department in recent years.

Construction continues on new OPD. Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

With the demolition phase completed, construction crews are now focused on laying out the interior walls and beginning to put in drywall.

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“We’re moving quickly on that,” said Chief Jeff McCutchen. “If you knew the blueprint going in, you can walk in the building now and understand the layout and where the rooms are.”

The new headquarters, spanning 40,000 square feet, promises to bring the entire department under one roof, fostering greater connectivity and efficiency. McCutchen said OPD should be able to move into the new building around January or February of 2025.

Central to the design is the dispatch center, described by McCutchen as the nucleus of the building.

“Everything is built around dispatch,” McCutchen said. “It’s really our central communication piece.”

Other features include dedicated spaces for victim services, complete with a conference room and playroom for children.

“We want to make sure everyone feels welcome and supported,” McCutchen said, highlighting plans for a volunteer internship program and improved evidence-processing facilities.

The training building will be connected to the main building, offering more space for classes and events.

The department also embraces a modern approach to technology, focusing on mobility and collaboration.

“We don’t want a lot of standard desktop computers,” McCutchen said.

Instead, the design incorporates a coffee shop-style patrol area, with flexible workstations to accommodate the dynamic nature of police work.

“Our profession is so mobile; we aren’t coming to the office to do a lot of things. You want to be in the field with your officers,” he said. “We’re going to have stand-up stations and round tables where officers can work together and work on reports. or you can stand and work. There are a lot of neat little nuances to help us be efficient, but also keep us healthy and connected.”

As progress continues, anticipation is building within the department and the community, McCutchen said.

“It’s gonna be great,” McCutchen said. “Just to have everybody together for the first time in a number of years is going to be super special.”

The state Legislature has granted Oxford about $6 million in grants for the building. OPD also received a $200,000 federal grant for equipment for the building. The city is paying the remaining costs using a bond.

As part of the project, the current OPD headquarters will be turned into a facility for the Oxford Parks Commission.