At a press conference in front of the Casper Fire Station 1, members of the Casper City Council and the Casper Police Chief talked about the city's decision to purchase the Casper Business Center to house the police department.

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The purchase, which cost the city $8 million for the facility, has already taken place, but the process to renovate the building and making it suitable for the Casper PD and other government entities will take two to three years.

Casper Police chief Keith McPheeters said there are some services they could move in "immediately" into the building, but said they don't know at this time which services those might be.

McPheeters said the purpose behind the move is to centralize a lot of the department's operations and provide more space for their officers, rather than having to find a new broom closet for officers.

"Our police department is spread out across our great community, and it's been very hard for us to continue to serve our citizens in the way we felt was important to do so," McPheeters said. "This new opportunity creates the space we need to efficiently respond to the rapidly changing dynamics of crime in our community, including the meteoric rise in technology needed to combat the evolving digital-based crime trends...In this building, we will be well-positioned for decades into the future."

Carter Napier, Casper city manager, said the money for the building comes from eight out of the $9 million in funding the city received from the American Rescue Plan, $11.2 million in CARES Act funding, and around $5 million from the opportunities fund.

In attendance were several members of the Casper PD, along with councilmembers Bruce Knell, Lise Engebretsen, Steve Cathy, vice mayor Steve Freel, and Mayor Ray Pacheco.

Sam Haut, Townsquaremedia
Sam Haut, Townsquaremedia

Knell, Engebretsen, and Cathy were all part of the committee that was responsible for finding a new building for the police department to occupy.

Pacheco said they will start a bidding process to find an architect to help design the new space, which the city anticipates will take six to 12 months, with the current tenants of the Casper Business Center staying in the building using their current leases.

Freel said he appreciates the work of the council and the committee that took the time to find the right building for the police department.

"I want to thank everybody that was on the committee itself. I think we did an outstanding job in putting this thing together," Freel said. "But I really want to thank the council as a whole. This council, I've worked with two, and this council itself has come together and we have had discussions, whether we agree or disagree, we get to the bottom of what needs to be done. And to me, we knocked it out of the park with this, because this is a long time coming and it absolutely is, and the committee did great and the council just done great and I appreciate that fact."

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