By Jeri Pearson
The Mena Police Department is eagerly preparing for the elbow room that awaits at its new home, located at 403 DeQueen Street, just a short walk from the department’s current location at the Polk County Courthouse complex.
Proponents of the project say the new location will not only increase the functionality of the day-today activities of the department, but also be a boon to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the parking issues at the Polk County Courthouse.
The City of Mena purchased the former Vaughn Engineering Building for $230,461.80, paid from general operating funds.
The remodel bid was awarded to T & J Construction for $146,000 to make the suitable for the Police Department accommodation, and will also be paid from general operating funds.
Police Chief Tommy Stueart said the evidence room will benefit from being in a secure area with a significant increase in the area available.
“We are required to maintain evidence, sometimes indefinitely, and right now the situation in our evidence room is that things are being stored, and it is there, but we would really have to dig to get to some of it,” Stueart said. “This added space will allow us to securely organize and maintain evidence.”
The departments new home will also provide sergeants with shared office space, a conference room for interviewing families, a secured entrance for bringing suspects in for questioning, secured parking in the rear of the building and parking for the public and on duty officers on DeQueen Street.
The additional parking will result in current parking for the department’s units to be available at the courthouse, as well as the department’s current offices to be available to the sheriff’s office.
While there is no set completion or move-in date for the new facility, Stueart is hopeful the department will be at the new location by the end of the year.