FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After decades of using an old train depot as headquarters for Selma Police, city leaders broke ground Friday on a facility that will better serve the department and the community.
"The Selma Police Department moved in it as a temporary facility in 1960. There have been a half dozen attempts since then to build us a permanent facility. So this is long overdue," said Selma Police Chief, Greg Garner.
Money for the new police station was made possible through a combination of funds.
Selma residents approved a $4 million bond back in 20-16 and the city secured another $4 million from the state.
"That will help provide the newer facility, the modern technology, the new dispatch center. It will allow our police department to be more efficient and effective for this community," said State Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula.
Selma police moved into their current facility in 1960 with a staff of 12. Their new facility will be double in size to 1100 square feet with plenty of room for a staff that is now 45 people.
The new facility will also have a new training room, booking and holding cells.
And the department will relocate from Front Street to Third Street, a block away from nearby railroad tracks where 26 trains pass by each day.
Chief Garner says his current office is just 28 feet away and that noise is very disruptive.
"I literally have to put people on hold when I'm on the phone as the train goes by. So this is going to be a significant improvement to that," he said.
Residents throughout Selma believe the new police station will be a significant improvement to safety in their small Fresno County community.
"I've been here all my life and I have seen the crime kind of change but it seems like it will be better with the new police department," said Richard Smith of Selma.
Construction on the new facility will take about a year. After the police department moves into the new building the old one will be used as a back-up communication center and for storage.
Ground breaking held for new Selma Police headquarters to better serve community