On September 29th, the Smithfield Police Department opened its doors to the public to tour their new facility located directly east of the new city office building.
A brief review of the history page on the Smithfield City Police Department shows that from 1868 until 1971 the security and safety of Smithfield was handled by an elected marshal and night watchmen. In 1971 Smithfield began contracting with the Cache County Sheriff’s Department to handle its law enforcement services.
According to Police Chief Johnny McCoy in 1999 the Mayor and City Council decided to form their own police department and it was voted into practice around that time. McCoy says, “Through the application process I had the great opportunity to be selected and I moved in from Wyoming. I started in 2000, at that time Smithfield did not have a police department, so I had the opportunity to develop it from the ground up. And, the mayors and council over the years have worked very hard to get us a facility that the whole department could function out of.”
Previously located in about 800 square feet in the previous city office building the police department was scattered throughout a few locations in Smithfield. For instance the evidence locker and some of the officers were located in what is known as the Smithfield Armory building.
McCoy commented, “It’s been hard but yet at the same time very rewarding to see things as they have developed now.” McCoy is excited to have a facility where the public can be assured when they come to the building and need assistance; that from the first contact with the secretary to the officers, they will be dealing with law enforcement personnel. The new arrangement allows them to offer the public safety services while still being sensitive to issues of privacy.
The new facility is comprised of 4700 square feet of space on the main floor comprising a reception area, office space, interview rooms, a kitchen space, and conference rooms. In the basement is another 2200 square feet housing an evidence locker, evidence processing area, storage space and an exercise facility.
The main floor of the new station includes the latest technology in computers, software, surveillance and recording equipment that was provided by a justice department grant. Juvenile probation has contacted Chief McCoy to utilize their equipment and interview rooms so that they can document interviews with juveniles.
Chief McCoy is very proud of the job done by Lundahl Construction that built the building and finished the top floor. McCoy praised them for their frugality while making sure that all codes for a municipal safety building were met. Also of great pride is the sense of ownership that seems to be shown by his officers. Most of the construction of the basement area has been completed by the officers themselves. Chief McCoy commented that he is pleased that it seems like the new facility has become their “home away from home.”
About half of the equipment from the exercise room is owned by the officers who have brought it from home for them all to use. The rest of the equipment is surplus from the rec. center as it was replaced by new equipment.
Exercise equipment is not the only place where the department is working to cut costs and keep the expense of the new building down. Most of the countertop and desk areas in the basement were salvaged from the previous city office building.
The evidence room houses a microscope that two officers are certified on, as well as evidence materials and chemicals needed to process much of the evidence collected by the department. McCoy’s plan is that through the utilization of grants, that the department will be able to do much more of their own forensic work as the department and valley grows.
The new facility is not only helping the police department be more efficient and organized by allowing better communication and coordination being all in one location, it is also helping the Cache County community as well. “Because we are the farthest north police department in Utah, the Highway Patrol and Cache County Sheriff’s department are both welcome to utilize the facility. Especially, our ‘intox’ machine and our interview rooms. So in that regard we are helping other agencies as they help the public.”
With more than thirty years of law enforcement under his belt McCoy is excited about the direction that the department is going and in the quality of officers that are working in Smithfield. Referring to his officers McCoy says, “The officers working here are truly professional individuals. They are as skilled as any law enforcement officers anywhere.”