Update: The current WKUPD renovation plan has been temporarily halted so that the department can secure the additional funding needed to complete the transformation, Public Information Office Tim Gray told the Herald. Approval for the funding will come from the Board of Regents.
The WKU Police Department has begun a transformation for the start of the Fall 2019 semester.
The WKUPD is currently undergoing a series of changes that are meant to improve morale within the department, starting with cosmetic improvements, the most notable being the new striping visible on WKUPD cruisers. Along with this project, alterations to the officer’s uniforms will include new patches and badges.
According to WKUPD Chief Mitchell Walker, the department’s headquarters and annexes will undergo a complete renovation.
“We’ve had some minor updates, as far as paint and things like that,” Walker said. “But really we’re in need of a complete overhaul of our police department.”
With an estimated budget of $1.5 million, the project’s cost will be paid for through funds set aside by the WKUPD over the years in anticipation of the renovation.
Once the renovation is completed, Walker stated that the WKUPD would change how the office operates within the building.
By reorganizing and updating the training area, evidence and briefing room, Walker hopes to increase the functionality of the space and to increase retention and recruitment of police officers.
“I’m hoping that it’s an encouragement that we take policing very seriously here and community policing as well,” Walker said. “That people want to work here, they want to serve our students, faculty and staff.”
WKUPD’s public information officer, Tim Gray, also believed that the renovation was overdue.
“The biggest change will be the physical renovation of the department, which includes our headquarters and our annex,” Gray explained. “We just closed out the bid process a little over a week ago, so we do have the company that’s been decided that is going to lead the project.”
Gray stated that the changes to the WKUPD would occur in phases, the first of which are the changes to the officer’s uniforms, which include a new patch design as well as new badges.
The next change to occur was the striping on the cruisers, which Gray explained was around halfway done.
Another notable difference is the new 7-4-5 phone numbers for the WKUPD.
“Since every phone number on campus is a 745 number, we wanted to have a number that made it easy for them to remember to call,” Gray said.
Quentin Hughes, WKUPD access control administrator, also expressed his excitement surrounding the impending renovation of the offices.
“Its had a couple of facelifts, but overall because of the heating and the lighting and the structure itself, it’s well outworn it’s functionality at this point, so I think it’s important that we do proceed with this renovation,” Hughes said.
Hughes explained that the access control and police department office spaces don’t quite fit what their campus policing model looks like and how they need to function as a police organization.
“I think that the renovations in those areas would be money well spent,” Hughes said.
News reporter Abbey Nutter can be reached at 270-745-6011 and abbigail. [email protected] her on Twitter at @abbeynutter.