Police departments in Arkansas looking to expand

Prairie Grove and Centerton police stations are currently in the process of expanding their existing spaces to meet the demands of a growing population.

ARKANSAS, USA — As Northwest Arkansas continues to grow, local police stations in the area are planning to expand to meet the demands of a growing population. 

In June, the Prairie Grove City Council unanimously voted on a $1.4 million expansion of their existing police station. Capt. Jeff O’Brien of the Prairie Grove Police Department said as the city has grown, so has the need for more space. 

“Unfortunately, as the city grows, the crime grows, the call volume grows,” O’Brien said. “In order to continue to meet those and see our projection in the future, we have to grow with that. Our facilities, our operation techniques, have to grow with the demand.”

O’Brien said that the expansion will come with a new detective office, an interview room, a blood alcohol content room, and more space in their evidence storage room. According to O’Brien, the 1,800-square-foot station is being expanded to around 4,800 square feet. 

Police staff are currently working out of the City Hall. O’Brien said to save money in the past, staff members have moved offices into separate places, but that is no longer working. 

“We finally just have reached a point where in order to move forward and to meet the needs of the city, we have to expand our facilities so that all of our officers, all of our admin staff, can all be in the same location and have the room and the tools, the things we need, office equipment we need to operate appropriately and to operate efficiently,” O’Brien said. 

O’Brien said staff have taken on the responsibility of clearing out the police station and small demolition before crews began their work. He said crews are waiting for steel to be delivered before the construction could get started. 

The City of Centerton is also in the process of expanding its police station. As of now, Chief of Centerton Police Cody Harper said the project is currently in the design stages and is expected to cost just over $1 million. 

“From patrol, admin, our criminal investigations, we’re going to be moving all together into the new area,” Harper said. “We’re building a strong foundation on teamwork, and that’s going to increase our services that we provide to the community.” 

Harper, who has been with the community for 19 years, said the station plans to expand by 3,000 square feet. He said the population of Centerton has changed a lot since the day he started at the department. 

“September 2005, population at that time was probably 2,500 to 3,500 people,” Harper said. “Now we’re sitting at an estimated 24,000 to 26,000 and as the population grows, we have to grow our department because if we don’t, we don’t want to be playing catch up. We need to stay ahead of the curve.”

O’Brien said they are expecting to build storage space for evidence processing and a garage warehouse for vehicle repairs and long-term storage. 

He said that it could not have been done without the support from the community. 

“The funding for the space is coming from bonds that were passed by the voters,” Harper said. “The biggest thing I can say is I am very grateful, very thankful that the voters supported us.”

Prairie Grove and Centerton police said construction on both projects is estimated to be finished by summer 2025. 

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