Sleepy Eye Police Chief Matt Andres gave me a tour of the new police station last week.

Sleepy Eye Police Chief Matt Andres gave me a tour of the new police station last week. He was so pleased with the new space for his department, he even agreed to pose in several pictures.

Chief Andres didn’t want to complain about the old station, which I suggested was “as old as time,” but he did say it is a tightly cramped space. In particular, Andres said there is not enough separation of normal work space, and interview space, and evidence processing space. He said evidence storage space is also somewhat inadequate.

Still not complaining, Andres said the garage space at the old station is limited. While the three police squads fit in the garage, if they need to store a seized vehicle, it means a squad stays outside.

Andres did express one very practical complaint about the old police station. “We don’t have access to high-speed internet. What we have is better than dial-up, but still too slow,” he said. “We need internet for all reports and digital evidence storage. At the new station we’ll have high-speed fiber optic cable.”

The new police station addresses all the shortcomings of the old station, with good basic work space for the Sleepy Eye Police Department.

“It will be a much safer and efficient police station, with adequate space to conduct police work,” said Andres. “It brings us up to current standards of police department needs.”

There is public access to the police station lobby through the city building, and also through the door that liquor store customers used. Andres said there will be a drug take back box in the lobby after the police department gets moved in.

Andres said, just as is the case now, there will not always be an officer on duty in the station, as they may be on patrol or responding to a call. People who stop in expecting to talk to an officer may have to call instead. The non-emergency phone number is 794-3711. As always, for an emergency call 911.

The lobby area features a pass-through window into the police station. The patrol office, where on duty officers work, also has a window with a view through the lobby window. A video camera will record the lobby area.

The police chief’s office will also contain the secure state computer. Andres said he and the other officers use the state computer for any background checks, driving record lookups, and all reports to the state. The chief’s office features a one-way observation window into the adjacent interview room, which is equipped with a video camera, with the video monitor in the chief’s office. The system records and logs videos when in use.

Andres described the interview room as a clean, blank space, with no distractions, where suspects will be interviewed. It contains just a table and a couple chairs.

Andres said the chief’s office also provides space to meet with victims and take their statements in a more comfortable environment.

Down the hall is the investigations office, a secure office for use by child protection investigators only. In 2020, the SEPD will be adding a full-time investigator position and that officer will also work in the secured investigations office.

Evidence storage is located in the basement. The entire area is secured by video cameras, with separate secured space for each officer’s evidence. Also on that level is a secured weapons room, for storage and maintenance of firearms.

The new garage is large enough for the department’s squads, and seized vehicles, when necessary. There is direct secure access from the garage into the interview room in the police station. “The structure lets us secure combative individuals entirely within the police station,” said Andres.

Andres invites the public to see the new police station at an open house on Monday, March 25, 3 to 7 p.m. The open house is being held before the SEPD moves their computers, equipment and evidence into the new station. Andres expects the department will move in the first or second week of April.