Cookeville’s new Police Department Headquarters officially opened Monday.
The community celebrated a ribbon cutting on the corner of Neal Street and Old Walton Road. Mayor Ricky Shelton said the city now has a gold standard headquarters that should last for many years to come.
“This is a great day,” Shelton said. “For over 60 years, this department was in a basement, a basement of a building. We now have this well-deserved building that stands as a beacon of hope and safety in our community.”
The department has been located under the Cookeville Performing Arts Center on Broad Street for many years. Police Chief Randy Evans said constructing a new home has been his mission since named chief in 2013.
“We had a common goal and that’s how things get accomplished when people come together and realize a need to develop a plan,” Evans said. “We didn’t hope this building was going to get built. We planned it to get built.”
Evans said the address of the new headquarters, 1019 Neal Street, was made by design. Evans said the police code 10-19 means “return to station.” Evans said the street behind the facility is named Guardian Way, representing how officers protect citizens.
“It just seems like everything fell into place,” Evans said. “If we had bid this project six months later, it wouldn’t have happened. Everybody knows what is happening with the economy and availability of materials and just the cost of labor and materials.”
Shelton said the project has spanned over two city councils and three city managers. Shelton said the city now has a gold standard headquarters that should last for another 60 years.
Police Major Scott Winfree said the department should be fully occupied in about a month’s time. Winfree said the department’s patrol and traffic divisions are currently housed in the new facility.