Four Million Dollar Expansion Set for Tyler Police

The Tyler Police Department needs more room.

The current building, built in 1976, was outgrown years ago as the police's needs changed. With more than double the number of officers, their space is at a premium.

The city has approved a four-million dollar expansion, financed by the half-cent sales tax, which will add almost twenty-thousand square feet to the Police Station.

"When this building was built," Chief Gary Swindle explains, "It was built to meet the needs right then and there. Our new building does take that into consideration, to try and get us a little bit above and beyond where we are today."

Among their major problems, the data management department has overflowed with records and case files from as far back as the seventies. The records have spilled into two eighteen wheel trailers, kept behind the current building.

"A lot of this stuff, we have to keep," Swindle says. "We have to maintain because of statute of limitations and that kind of stuff in cases."

The new expansion, which will connect to the back of the current building, also includes better security for the officers, especially at the rear of the station which is currently wide open.

"We do a lot of things back there," Swindle says, "We process evidence, we have undercover officers that go in and out, and we have undercover vehicles. People can drive through and just pick out the undercover vehicles and things like that, so it makes it hard."

According to Chief Swindle, the new facility should be sufficient for the department's needs through the decade. However, as Tyler expands to the south, he expects to build a substation in South Tyler in 2008 or 2009 to better serve the area.

Reid Kerr reporting.