Yreka PD unveil new building, will help improve efficiency in department

A Yreka dispatcher works at his new desk as former Chief Brian Bowles of Yreka Police waves through the window. According to dispatchers, they moved into the new building just before Christmas. (News 10/Mike Marut)

For the first time in years, Yreka Police Department has moved into a new building with all the bells and whistles of a modern-age policy agency.

Former Police Chief Brian Bowles noted even when he started in 1990, he walked in and thought to himself how much work needed to be done to bring the agency into the technology of the time.

A problem YPD faced while at their old location on Miner Street in Yreka was getting to calls as quickly as possible. Bowles used windshields frozen over as an example for recent weeks' current weather. He mentioned if officers arrived on duty and immediately had to go to a call, they had to defrost their windshield and scrape the ice off even before leaving.

"It would take 20 to 30 minutes to get other officers on scene, now they just pull up, put it in gear and go," Bowles said. "We're going to be more efficient, more quicker response to the public and community."

Bowles is referencing a new overhang at the new police department building that covers the cars from the snow and ice in the winter and the heat and sun in the summer.

Another hiccup to the efficiency of the department was the information technology (IT) in the old building. Current Chief Dave Gamache made note of the wiring in the building and how some things would work and others not depending on the day of the week.

"Anything that had to do with IT was really difficult to make it work," Gamache said. "It's amazing we brought the same work stations from our old building here and they work every time."

In Gamache's speech to a crowd of a few dozen people, he said he found the department had moved buildings four times in the last 100 years or so.

In that same vein, Bowles hopes this new building alone will last the department at least 50 to 100 years, with some new parts here and there as technology progresses for the agency.

Both Gamache and Bowles are proud they have the best technology of any police department in Siskiyou County.

The new location is at 1400 Fairlane Road, Yreka. This is just outside town near Oberlin Road, but Gamache doesn't think that will have too much of an effect on in-person reporting of crimes compared to their old location.

Gamache specifically mentioned the number of parking spaces as an improvement in that area. At the old building at 412 Miner St., the public could only use two 15-minute parking spots even though it was right downtown. At the new building, people visiting the police station have more parking availability even though it's on the outskirts of town.

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