Cape Girardeau Police Dept. wraps up last of jail tours - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Cape Girardeau Police Dept. wraps up last of jail tours

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

The Cape Girardeau Police Department wrapped up the last of its tours on Tuesday, March 18.

The department has been operating out of the current building since 1975. It was built to hold 65 people. The department now employs around 120 people.

There are some problems with the jail. Sometimes it's over-crowded and problems range from plumbing, to it being located on the second floor. Some inmates are even let out early to make room for the ones who really need to be held longer.

Chief Wes Blair said many people were surprised when they took the tour. He said the time is right for a change.

"What I'd like the public to know, what are we trying to accomplish with these open houses is that there is a legitimate need for a police station," Chief Blair said. "It's not just us sitting here making out a wish list, pie in the sky things, of things we'd like to see. It's actually a true, legitimate, need that officers need to function efficiently as they serve the public."

People in Cape Girardeau got their first chance to look inside the city jail; the chief wants to let people see the conditions inside.

Chief Blair said he hopes it will help the community understand why a police station with a new jail is needed.

We spoke with people Tuesday, March 11 after their tour:

"I believe they have invested a lot of money in renovating this building except for the jail and I believe the east fence should be expanded out and build the jail there and have the police station here and the jail there," said Sandi Staples from Cape Girardeau.

"I do believe that we need a new building over twice as big as this one," said Linda Dedert from Cape Girardeau, "because when they first moved in they had full staff so there was no room for growth and now they are twice that and there is just no way to expand."

Comment cards were available to be completed at the end of the tour. According to the Cape Girardeau Police Department, some of the comments that were left include:

“This facility is completely outdated. I had no idea how far behind the Cape police station was behind compared to other cities of similar size with jail, equipment and technology. Need a new facility badly.”

“I have a new respect for the work the police department does considering the dismal building and surroundings they have to work in!!”

“I’m shocked by the conditions of the department. There isn’t enough space for you all to work efficiently.”

This is an unfunded project, so city leaders will have to come up with a way to pay for the improvements.

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