Police and Fire Chiefs meet with Public Safety and Justice Committee, give updates on bond projects

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After not meeting for quite some time, the Public Safety and Justice Committee gathered on Thursday, January 28th at City Hall. In attendance were City Manager Joan Riley, Fire Chief David Taylor, Police Chief Mike Reed, and City Councilors Joseph Hale, Marty Cummins, and Bruce Bledsoe. Bledsoe was nominated Chairman. 

Riley asked both chiefs to give updates on their respective departments and GO bond projects. 

Chief Taylor brought his core staff, including Fire Marshall James Vickery, Deputy Chief of Training Josh Wood, and Deputy Fire Marshall Rodney Bell. Taylor introduced them and stated, “they’re top notch.” 

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Taylor reported that Wood traveled to Rogers, Arkansas and to Dallas to see their fire training centers for inspiration for the design of Sapulpa’s new structure east of the auto museum on Route 66. Wood explained that our facility will be one of the tallest buildings in town, with a “5-story tower, a 2-story annex, and a 1-story annex. It will be all-encompassing, with Class A props like raw wood and burns, rappelling, search and rescue simulations, special ventilation,” and features that will allow them to “train on any incident we may encounter. What’s not in the tower will be located outside, such as a trench rescue” area, an outdoor classroom, and “combat challenge stairs,” which includes both “switchback stairs and straight shot stairs, to mimic downtown buildings, newly-constructed buildings, and apartment complexes. There won’t be another tower like it around” here. “It will be great, not just for us, but for all surrounding communities. We have big plans for it,” Wood said. 

SFD Proposed Fire Training Facility.

Taylor said that he met with several Green Country fire chiefs earlier that day, several of whom were interested in using the training facility, which will also include a classroom large enough to hold 40 people. “A lot of different groups will use it,” he said. “Broken Arrow and Jenks rent out their facilities and they’re smaller than ours will be.” 

Taylor said that one building at the facility will house the fire department’s administration. He said that it is already there and that it will be gutted and have 20 feet added to the back. It will hold the classroom and all offices. “Per the [Route 66] corridor requirements, its facade will be brick.” Additionally, if “another entity is using the classroom after-hours,” the fire department will have the ability to block off the administrative offices. There will be another building in the back that will store reserve apparati, equipment, and trucks. “We’re really proud of it,” Taylor enthused. 

He concluded by saying that the architectural drawings should be complete at the end of January and that at the beginning of February they would advertise for bids for construction in the Tulsa World. The entire project is estimated to be finished in the Spring of 2022. 

Riley said the City has had several discussions with Central Tech and its director, Dr. Kim Howard, about holding firefighter classes at the new facility. “We have an opportunity to encourage kids [into that career] right out of high school,” she said. 

Chief Taylor then spoke about the remodel of Fire Station #3, located at 10 East Murphy Avenue, off Main Street and just north of Dollar General. It is “relatively small” and SFD has “outgrown the facility,” but it would have cost around $150K to purchase an appropriate piece of property for a brand-new station, so they have decided to expand it by one story and reconfigure the entrance. “We wanted to move it where it was more visible,” explained Taylor. “We’re very pleased with [the design]. It’s a project we’ve needed for quite some time.” He said the timeline is very similar to that of the new training facility, but that it should be finished just ahead of it. “This bond issue has been amazing for us,” Taylor said. “It’s really appreciated.” 

Police Chief Mike Reed opened his comments by stating that his “top priority as Chief is community policing,” and that he has several plans related to this that will be implemented soon. 

Reed continued by saying he has “restructured the ranks” of almost everyone in his department and that he has “a completely new staff who have all been recently promoted. We have hit the ground running.” He introduced his primary staff who were in attendance. They were Deputy Police Chief Rob Glenn, Major Terry Wiggs, Major Philip Diehl, and Major Jason DeLoache.

He said that they have utilized their bond funds in several ways, first by initiating “a complete remodel” of the police department in October, spearheaded by Glenn. “It may look the same on the outside,” Reed said, but it’s “completely different inside.” Reed said that they were able to “utilize the space we had, just by changing it around” a bit. The project is expected to be finished at the time of this publication. 

The next project in motion at SPD, led by DeLoache, is refreshing its fleet. He stated that they have “36 cars total, and 16 of them have well over 100K miles on them.” They just ordered 8 new, fully-equipped V8 Chargers, and are in the process of rebranding the entire fleet. 

They explained that a new patrol car is $27.5K and that the equipment—light packages, sirens, cages, push bars, radars, radios, shotguns, tablets, mounts, and more—is an additional $15.5K, for a total of $43K per vehicle. “They’re our office sometimes,” finished DeLoache, on the importance of having a properly-fitted fleet.