ROCK SPRINGS – The Rock Springs Police Department is running out of space.
The Council recently approved a rental agreement between the RSPD and U-Haul Moving and Storage to store police vehicle parts, an act highlighting just how little space is available to the department.
“With us now looking at renting space to store stuff for the police department, knowing also that the police department is pretty well packed to the hilt at this point, I think it would be a good idea for us to really look for a new facility for Rock Springs PD,” Councilman Tim Robinson said during the Nov. 7 Council meeting.
The police department has operated out of the Rock Springs City Hall for the past 45 years. During that time, the growing needs of the community have forced the department to grow with it, and deal with limited space available at City Hall.
Rock Springs Police Chief Bill Erspamer did not respond to requests for comment prior to publication time.
Robinson said the evidence annex is a secondary location that has “probably seen better days.” Robinson believes the Council needs to look for an all-encompassing solution that satisfies all the department’s needs. Robinson has better experience with the situation than most as he was previously employed by the RSPD.
Mayor Max Mickelson has a larger proposal in mind for the department.
“I actually would really like to see us move forward with a combined emergency services facility,” he said.
Mickelson said discussions have taken place regarding the combined facility and how that would operate, referring to the work already accomplished as a “plan to have a plan.” Mickelson agrees a new facility for the RSPD is a real need in the city and said renting private storage space for department equipment isn’t a sustainable solution.
The RSPD isn’t alone in dealing with limited space. The Green River Police Department also dealt with the issue during the late 2000s while it operated out of the Green River City Hall. Discussions about needing a dedicated police department building date back to when John Love was the city’s police chief and included ideas such as purchasing the former Green River Ford dealership near the intersection of East 4th South Street and Uinta Drive.
The city settled on adapting the unfinished skeleton of what was initially planned to be the Winters Professional Building on West Flaming Gorge Way. Funding was a challenge for the city early on and an attempt to cover the cost of finishing the building through a sixth penny tax initiative in 2012 failed with county voters. The city, citing that Green River voters supported funding the police department with six penny funds, opted to fund the capital project through a combination of loans, grant funding and city funds and the GRPD moved into its current location in 2014.