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Thomasville explores options for new police headquarters

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THOMASVILLE--The city is weighing options to replace the city's aging police headquarters building.

City leaders say the department outgrew the building years ago and the city's improving financial picture now makes replacing it possible.

The Thomasville Police Department headquarters is showing every bit of its 76 years. Concrete floors are cracked, asbestos has made one area unusable and the department has run out of room.

"We have evidence that's spread out over three separate floors,” said Chief Jeff Insley. “You have people confined in closets, what used to be storage rooms, for office space."

Insley said the building had been a poor fit for changes in technology.

"We've had to re-wire and have had to make some make-do arrangements," said Insley.

The man that is helping lead the charge for a new location is the department's former chief, who worked in the building for 35 years.

"We made attempts to retrofit the building for our use,” said councilman Ronald Bratton. “The building's been updated and retrofitted three or four times while I was still here as a police officer but the building's just not adequate for a modern police department."

City leaders have talked about moving the department for years, but Bratton said Thomasville was in better financial shape now to move on the idea.

"The debt we have on the Winding Creek Golf Course, it will be retired in June of this year," he said.

Bratton prefers that the city build a new headquarters instead of refurbishing an existing building.

"We want something that will last, not something that 10 years from now we're in the same situation we are now," he said.

While the building will need an estimated 23,000 square feet and other specific features to meet the department's needs, Insley said he would be grateful for another headquarters, new or refurbished.

"We'd be open to whatever and be very appreciative to get it," said Insley.

The building opened in 1937 and in addition to the police department, once housed city hall, the fire department and the department of motor vehicles. Bratton said the city needs about six acres if it chooses to construct a new building.

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