Lenexa details options for future of police facilities at open house

Lenexa hosted its first open house Wednesday evening about the city’s public safety study. The city is looking at options for the future of its police facilities.

Lenexa residents got a first look on Wednesday at options for improving the quality of the city’s public safety facilities.

City leaders, police officers, consultants and architects led discussions with dozens of people during an open house at the Lenexa Police Department. The open house is part of an ongoing study of the city’s public safety complex, a $200,000 effort.

Jennifer Goeke, project manager with PGAV Architects, led discussions on the space needs of the Lenexa Police Department.

The evening’s activities included tours of the current facilities as well as a few viewing stations addressing space needs, location and best practices of police departments. These stations also offered a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of either rebuilding a public safety complex on site at the northwest corner of 87th Street Parkway and Quivira Road, or building anew on city-owned property in a more centralized location at the southwest corner of Prairie Star Parkway and Britton Street.

Police Chief Tom Hongslo said the public feedback will be used to inform plans for the city’s future public safety needs.

“The current building is not big enough; it can’t be retrofitted to be a police department,” he said. “We’re cramped.”

Planning for 20 years into the future

Police Chief Tom Hongslo said the current facilities of the Lenexa Police Department are “cramped” for the officers.

Hongslo said the city’s recent study and space needs analysis look 20 years into the future. That study included touring new public safety facilities in the suburban cities near Chicago, to see how they’ve improved on efficiencies of police business and adjacencies of resources.

Emergency response times were the main concern Hongslo heard from residents at the open house. He wanted to ensure that if the city moves the public safety complex and police headquarters to the more centralized location, that it will not increase response times.

“When our officers come to work, they work districts in the city; 90% of the time, they’re in the field,” Hongslo said, noting that officers spend very little of their shift at headquarters. “The centralized location will allow us to deploy resources throughout the city. So if we need a secondary approach on a critical incident, we have our command post, our armored vehicle, our “tac” (tactical) team, our tac vehicles going.”

City staff and consultants on the project will consider public feedback and present the data to the governing body in late February.