The Regina Police Service is on the hunt for a new headquarters and at least one option could see the force occupy the former Saskatchewan Transportation Company depot across the street.
Chief Evan Bray said police are working closely with city officials to determine possible options for an expanded headquarters space
"The reality is we have greatly outgrown this building. We have a lot of our operations that don't happen out of police headquarters," he said.
The force says 10 units, including the vice and drug unit, no longer operate out of the headquarters building on Osler street due to space limitations, but are spread out across the city.
"The fact that we don't have all of our operational and investigative units working out of headquarters is a real challenge for us because policing, the one thing about policing is it's heavily based on intelligence and intelligence comes from communication," Bray said.
A list of units no longer operating out of headquarters:
- Fleet Services
- Street Gang Unit
- Drug Unit
- Vice Unit,
- Family Services
- Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit
- Internet Child Exploitation
- Human Resources
- Financial Services
- Commercial Crime
"As robust of a technical footprint as we have — being able to communicate not just over email and text messages but in other forms of radio and whatever — nothing substitutes for face to face communication."
Bray added that councillors have been toured around the three-storey headquarters to illustrate just how tight the space is.
"I mean we literally have spaces where we've got six or seven people crammed into a location that probably should have two people," he said, adding evidence storage and providing parking for a staff of 600 add to the difficulty.
New community space
Bray wants some of the extra space that would come with a new headquarters to be designed to host community members for various events and ceremonies.
He said the force has hosted feasts and Indigenous pipe ceremonies in its offices, and heard from its elders advisory council it needs a dedicated community space where families can meet.
STC depot an option
He said whether the city decides to build a brand new headquarters — either in a different location or its current lot — or stay put and create a campus-style compound using the existing facility (which also requires upgrades) and expand to nearby buildings is still being assessed.
He hopes the city approves a new headquarters plan by the end of 2017.
As for options, Bray said officials have discussed procuring the now-shuttered STC building, which the province must sell by March 2018.
But even that wouldn't be enough room, according to Bray.
He said in that scenario, police would be required to keep its existing building and expand to additional sites.
"We need a building, a site, a compound, a campus, whatever we're going to call it. We need a location that allows us to be under essentially one roof or in one location that enhances our ability to be operationally effective and efficient."
The city declined to comment on its consideration of the former STC station as a possibility.
Instead, a spokesperson wrote in an email to CBC News that a new police headquarters is identified as a priority in city hall's 2017-2021 capital plan, but no money has been allocated for such a project and there is no implementation plan in place.
Bray acknowledged the procurement of a new headquarters would cost the city millions, but believes that a new centralized location would bring down the police's facility operating costs in the long term since money is currently spent on leasing additional space.