In April of 2021, Brentwood will have a new public safety building on Heritage Way. This building will have five times the space of the current building. It will offer better training facilities, accommodate safer prisoner delivery, provide a new 911 dispatch center, supply labs to streamline crime scene investigation, and there will also be a courtroom and public meeting space. It will be more centrally located.
“We’ve just outgrown this building,” Police Chief Jeff Hughes said in a press release. “Along the way, we’ve become very dysfunctional from an efficiency standpoint because we’re spread out all over the building.”
One of the advantages of the new facility will be the ability to host training and meetings the department has not been able to host before, including a space dedicated to defensive tactics training, which includes virtual scenario simulation. There will also be a room specifically for firearms simulation that other safety organizations will be able to use. Until now, many times officers have had to go out of state for defensive training.
De-escalation training will be another focus. This type of class gives officers the skills to abate high-tension situations, such as mental health crises, and even encounters with autistic subjects. Word choice is important in de-escalating situations, making it unnecessary to use lethal force.
A new dedicated patrol car garage will ensure a safer area for handling the booking of arrests. Patrol cars will pull into a garage, close the door, and conduct booking and interviews with minimal transfer of prisoners. Garage parking for all patrol cars will solve a current vulnerability issue.
The dispatch center has been designed for future growth and for flexibility of use. Modern laboratory facilities will insure better evidence handling, offer new investigative capabilities.
An open lobby will be part of a multi-function area that will allow easier access to public records, a municipal courtroom, and a community room. A supporting structure will house a new emergency rescue facility for an ambulance and a team of first-responders.
The 56,000 square-foot building will cost an estimated $29 million dollars, making it the city of Brentwood’s largest capital project to date. The facility is being built by the Parent Company and it was designed by the Architecture Workshop. The Architecture Workshop has designed many public buildings, some of which are the City of Murfreesboro Police Headquarters and their new public safety training facility; Marshall County Health Department; and Sumner County Emergency Operations and Communications.
With the new facilities, the police department will be able to add more officers, however across the country there is a shortage of police officers. According to an article on the Denver Channel 7 website, 86 percent of police departments are dealing with an officer shortage. The shortage began in 2014.
The same article goes on to say that numbers are dropping for a number of reasons, including higher wages working for private security companies, and a lowering of public perception of police due to recent controversial events. Still it is a rewarding public service career.
Brentwood is in better shape than most. The department is authorized for 67 officers, they
currently have 60, with three more in training to get started in 2021. And they just made job offers to four more people. Earlier this year Brentwood Police Department held a testing process, and for the first time ever made no offers.
The department is keeping officers as safe as possible during COVID. Call volume has been down, and officers have been told to limit enforcement to avoid contact and potential infection. To date, two officers and one dispatcher have contracted COVID. The Brentwood Police Department believes its efforts have been successful to keep the department at full strength.