Shelby Township had dedicated its new, 18,000-square foot police building on the municipal hall grounds to the township's founding police officer, Robert Smith.
During a dedication ceremony Friday, current Police Chief Roland Woelkers said in 1954 the township had asked Smith, a recent World War II veteran, to launch the small city's new police department.
Smith was quickly promoted to police chief and ran the department for 29 years. A plaque in his memory hangs on the new building's entrance walls.
Shelby Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis was joined by several Shelby police officers, State Rep. Pete Lund, Sterling Heights Mayor Richard Notte, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham and several local dignitaries for the dedication celebration.
"As people drive by and see this building—it's not about the building—it's about the men and women inside who serve the township," said Lund.
Shelby-Utica Patch got a tour of the new state of the art police facility, which features a high-tech 911 dispatch center, six police cells, a new video arraignment camera system, employee lounge and police lockers.
Woelkers said the facility allows for safer police interactions because witnesses of a crime and suspects no longer have to be in the same room. There is also a sound-proof interrogation room.
The former police station, which sits several hundred feet away on the bottom floor of the municipal hall, will serve as additional police conference rooms.
"It's much better than living in the basement," said Shelby Police Officer Joseph Wojcik.
The 18,000-square feet building, which cost $4 million, was originally slated to be 50,000-square feet and cost the township nearly $20 million, paid by bonds.
"The previous administration's plan for $50,000-square feet was too large and too expensive," said Stathakis, who was elected in 2008. "Furthermore, the idea of bonding for any building project without a public vote was something I would never agree to; and we did not."
Last year, the township renovated Fire Station No. 1 on 23 Mile Road. The renovations cost the city $3.2 million. Stathakis noted that both projects were paid in cash and came in under budget.
French and Associates Inc. was the architecture firm hired for the project, and Garrison Construction was the building company.
Stathakis especially thanked Shelby Township Building Director Tim Wood for all his hard work, Woelkers, township engineers Fazal Kahn and Associates, and Trustee Paula Filar for working on the police building committee.
The public is welcome to attend an at the new police station Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.