Officers with the Philippi Police Department have packed their boxes and are on the move from the old police station to the new one situated in the Hu Myers Center on South Main Street.
The moving process began at 8 a.m. Thursday and will continue throughout the day today. Officers had assistance from Philippi Mayor Jerry Mouser, the Philippi Task Force and individuals with the Barbour County Community Corrections program.
Mouser, the officers and Police Chief Jeff Walters seem to agree that the new location will have its benefits to the community and the police department.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Philippi Police Department officials launch a two-day moving process to the department’s new home at the Hu Myers Center in Philippi. Sgt. Scott Gillis, left, and Police Chief Jeff Walters assist with the move Thursday. They also received help from the Philippi Task Force, Mayor Jerry Mouser and Barbour County Community Corrections.
"I think it's going to be more accessible for the community," Patrolmen S. A. Miller said. "It's going to be a more professional environment. It's going to be good all around."
The old police department on Church Street may have the outward appearance of a home, but it hasn't always felt that way for officers or their interviewees. Walters welcomes the idea of a new home for the police department. He said he is looking forward to having a new building.
"It will be a much nicer facility," Walters said. "It'll be more private if people want to come in to talk to the police. It's just a much more professional working environment. I spend 70-80 percent of my time in the office. It will be more efficient."
The new location has a larger parking area and will feature two outside telephones, one at the front and one at the back of the building. The phones will automatically dial the police department when they are picked up. If an officer is not present to answer the phone, it will automatically transfer to the Barbour County Communications Center, Mouser said.
For other calls, citizens will not have to worry about what number to dial because the police department will retain its current telephone number.
"I consider this kind of a new beginning for the police department," Mouser said, adding that the department has recently welcomed a new police chief and sergeant. "We hope to increase the size of the police department."
Officers also have recently welcomed new sidearms, a couple of Tasers, new shotguns and two new police cruisers with cages separating the backseat passengers from the officers for safety, Mouser said, adding that he hopes to equip other cruisers with cages.
Although Thursday is recognized by Philippi officials as the starting day of the two-day move, the Philippi Police Department already got a head start on moving sensitive information.
Sensitive information, such as evidence found at the scene of crimes, already have been moved to and secured at the new location by police officers.
Mouser said that the new evidence room has already been completed. He said there are still a number of tasks to be finished even after the move is complete.
"We still have a few odds and ends to be done there," Mouser said.
There will be two signs identifying the location as the Philippi Police Department, one at the front and the other at the back of the building. Mouser said he hopes to have cameras installed at the front and back of the building, get new ballistic vests for the officers and fence in a couple of parking spaces for larger evidence like vehicles, bicycles or for traffic cones that may help with the police department's goal of becoming the best small city department in West Virginia.
Mouser said there will be a community block party in celebration of the recent changes. The event has not yet been scheduled, but is in the planning stages. He said that the Governor's Highway Safety Program donated 15 bicycle helmets to be given to children. He said that City Manager Karen Weaver has ordered safety kits for the kids as well.
This celebration will feature activities such as a bike rodeo for kids, Mouser said. The Family Resource Network will participate in the event. Hot dogs will be made by Jerry Davis, who owns his own hot dog stand.