MADERA COUNTY – County officials and law enforcement from several different agencies gathered at the new Madera County Sheriff’s Office facility on Falcon Drive on Tuesday for the official ribbon cutting.
The new 27,500-square-foot headquarters building sits on two-and-a-half acres and was made possible through a public-private partnership with Spencer Enterprises, Inc.
The state-of-the-art facility allows for the consolidation of all Sheriff’s Office functions in one location to better facilitate operations.
There are nearly 36 miles of computer wire throughout the building, which includes an Emergency Operations Center where the latest in interactive display technology will give the County the ability to efficiently manage large-scale incidents.
There is also a new Dispatch Center designed to grow with the County, and state-of-the art storage technology and security system.
This is the first time in the history of the Madera County Sheriff’s Office that they will have a dedicated Emergency Operations Center, and all departments will be housed under one roof.
On Oct. 31, 2014, the Sheriff’s Office began work on the facility, which is a brand new warehouse that was in foreclosure, and had been sitting empty since 2007. The County agreed to pay $9.5 million for the property, and will be making payments on a lease/purchase arrangement over 20 years.
The current office building on Road 28, which once served as the Welfare Office, was built in 1942 and is just 10,000 square feet. It was not large enough to house all the various operations of the Sheriff’s Office, so they have been spread out across three separate locations, making communications between the troops “interesting at best, and problematic at worst,” said former Sheriff John Anderson, who noted that this is long overdue.
“Having separate locations not only costs more, but it is very inefficient,” said Anderson at the ground breaking in October. He appointed a committee, headed up by Undersheriff Mike Salvador, to look into finding a central location several years ago.
The new facility has three conference rooms, an armory, quiet sleeping quarters, secure pass-through evidence lockers, field training office, plus a two-car evidence garage where suspect vehicles can be pulled into the building for processing by investigators. There are 100 secure parking spaces and a fueling station for patrol vehicles.
Sheriff’s Office personnel will also be able to monitor all the surveillance cameras throughout the county, plus there are 40 cameras installed throughout and around the building itself.
“Today is a very happy day in the nearly 125 year history of the Sheriff’s Office,” said Salvador before the raising of the flag, which was found hanging from the rafters when they began work on the building, and was saved by the contractors.
Sheriff Jay Varney thanked the Board of Supervisors for their support, and commended the crew from the Harris Corporation for the speed at which the project was completed. He expects the department to be moved in some time in July.
The new facility will house about 70 personnel, with the department’s additional 30 operating out of the new Sheriff’s Substation in Oakhurst.