The Firebaugh Police Department will soon be “living the dream,” a dream that has been in the works for many years.
On Friday, August 4th, the city will hold a dedication ceremony for its new police station. It is located on “Q” Street in the historic building that once housed the town’s county library and courthouse. The long-awaited move will allow the police department to leave their old, dilapidated, and cramped digs at the current station located on 11th Street for over a half-century. It will also turn the “Q” Street location into a bonafide civic center, with not only the new police station and a new VFW Hall, but also a brand new fire station.
The project, according to police chief Sal Raygosa, will turn the library/courthouse into a state-of-the-art facility that will keep the Firebaugh PD on the cutting edge of technology, information, and support. The brick building dates back to 1949 and was a joint venture between the state and Fresno County.
The courthouse, which featured a courtroom, judge’s chambers and reception area, was closed down many years ago when Fresno County decided to consolidate operations. Adjacent to the courtroom was an office for the Fresno County Ag Department as well as the library, both of which have moved to the new West Hills College Firebaugh Center in the northern part of town.
With a building just sitting empty, the wheels started turning to make good use of the facility, which measures close to 10,000 square feet. Chief Raygosa said that an agreement was made with the state to ‘buy’ the building for $1.
“But then the state judicial council stepped in and said they control the building, and they weren’t going to give it up for $1,” Raygosa explained. “So, we had to come up with $280,000 to buy the building.
With the building finally purchased, the city then moved forward with the renovation, which has taken about a year with a cost of $3.4 million. Grant money was obtained and about $1 million came out of the city’s general fund to pay for the project.
Raygosa added that State Senator Anna Caballerro has been invaluable with her assistance in the project.
“The senator kept telling me, ‘Anything you need, please let me know,’” the chief said.
The new facility will obviously give the department ample space. There are two holding cells that were actually left over from the courthouse days. There is also a reception area for the public with the police dispatching center separated behind it. Besides offices for the chief, sergeant, and detective, there is also an interview/conference room and another room for training and briefings.
A brand new evidence room and armory are also featured, as well as a break room and showers for officers. The old library will be turned into a gymnasium for officers and other PD employees to work out.
“Some of our officers are donating equipment and we are receiving other donations, plus we were rewarded with a Wellness Grant for $15,000,” Raygosa added.
There is also an area between the new PD and the new fire department that Raygosa wants to eventually turn into a memorial to local police and firefighters.
The Firebaugh PD currently has 13 full time officers, five reserve officers, four dispatchers, one records supervisor and one code enforcement officer.