POINT PLEASANT — Mason County Sheriff Michael Roach has proposed the Mason County Commission consider moving the offices of the sheriff’s department to the former Point Pleasant Hardware building.
Roach made his proposal at Thursday’s regular meeting of the Mason County Commission. Of course the county now owns the building at 525 Main Street and is in the process of filtering through engineers to possibly choose one to do upgrades and modifications to the building.
Roach said he asked the commission to consider the request to utilize the first floor of the building as the new headquarters for the sheriff’s department because the present facilities are simply not adequate.
“Let me add this is not something that the sheriff’s department wants but it is something that is desperately needed both for the county and the department,” Roach said.
Roach then began to cite several reason why he felt the move is necessary. He said there’s not enough space in the department’s current location with seven deputies sharing two desks in one confined office space. The evidence room is not secure or of adequate size. There is no privacy when interviewing witnesses or complainants. There is no interrogation room with suspects having to be interrogated in an open space that is accessible to the general public. The building is not handicap accessible. Because of the appearance and condition of the building it does not produce a positive work environment nor increases the morale of the department personnel. There is no waiting room for persons who are at the department for other services and these persons either have to wait in the narrow hallway or stand outside in the weather.
There is no room big enough to seat all personnel when a department meeting is being held. Deputies have to stand up or stand in the hallway for an hour long meeting. No storage space for department equipment such as uniform closet, ammo and weapon storage. The office has been referred to as “the dungeon.” There is not enough parking space, currently there are vehicles and equipment stored all over the county. Department vehicles have to be serviced and cleaned in the parking lot that the public has to walk across to get to the court house and sheriff’s office. There is not enough room for the storage of old and current files and records which are currently scattered in several places in the sheriff’s office and court house. There is also an issue of mold and dampness where water gets into “the dungeon” when it rains.
Roach said he realized this wasn’t a request that could be granted overnight but he wanted to submit it for consideration. Again, the building has three floors and Roach said the first should be adequate for the sheriff’s department.
Commissioner Rick Handley said the commission would take it under advisement and needed to again narrow down the field of engineers on how to modify the building first. County Administrator John Gerlach said he didn’t see any problem with the idea but wanted everyone to be aware the parking lot next to the building on the corner of Sixth and Main Streets is not owned by the county but by the City of Point Pleasant. It is a public parking lot.
Roach said since his term is up on Jan. 1, this idea won’t benefit him but the department in the long run.