By John Gordon
In 1996 when the Perris Police Department disbanded and was taken over by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, who would have known that some eleven years later, where home was once a converted, cramped 40 year old former Southern California Edison building, deputies would as of this past week find a new home in a brand new 45,000 square foot station, complete with a huge forensic lab and over 20,000 square feet of evidence storage.
Planned for several years and with a budget of $30,000,000 and built in conjunction with the Robert Bruce Weed Health Department Building, the station boasts 17 acres, a prime location, expanded public area for waiting, and a heliport that lines the 215 freeway. An important aspect of planning was definitely location as the original building, just off Hwy 74 was somewhat difficult to locate, and did not offer much space for the public to handle civil matters. "The deputies were very helpful, but it took me longer to find the old location than I was actually there, said Marisia Rogers, a Perris resident.
The grand opening event which was held this past Saturday, was attended by several public servants and city and county officials, offered event attendees the opportunity to tour the site, including the lab, warehouse and actual station. To the surprise of several attendees, the station was actually up and running as onlookers witnessed a multitude of individuals being taken into the back of the station, out of vehicles in handcuffs.
Everyone in attendance seemed to be in very high spirits and excited about the new facility. Deputies were seen offering guided tours of the buildings, as well as assisting young children in and out of the sheriff helicopter and other official vehicles present in the east lot of the station. "After several years in the cramped, crowded and antiquated station, I can understand their excitement", said Marshall Cripton, a private investigator who says he had visited the old sheriff station for business several times in the past. "This one is also easier to get to", added Mr. Cripton.
The new station is going to be home to about 160 sworn deputies and serve some 190,000 residents of the surrounding areas, including the 47,000 residents of Perris. This is truly a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the deputies and employees who have selflessly worked for years in the cramped and crowded quarters of the old building, added Rita Rogers, Mayor Pro Tem, and longtime Perris resident.
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