The e-newsletter of the COPS Office | Volume 3 | Issue 2 | February 2010

All Welcomed to the New Milliken Police Station

On January 6, 2010, the Milliken (Colorado) Police Department opened the doors for its new policing building—a facility reflecting the department’s vision using architecture and design to support community policing and problem solving. As community members swarmed the gleaming new Milliken Police Station and Meeting House, one could only surmise that the department’s new facility was already successful in relaying its community-policing-laden message of transparency and openness.

Coinciding with the town’s Centennial (January 6, 1910 saw the official opening of the soon-to-be-incorporated town to settlers), Chief Jim Burack and his staff ushered in well-wishers and provided first-hand tours of the facility,1 peppering visitors with explanations of how the building established an environment from which community policing could flourish and enhance information sharing for effective problem solving.

Almost 2 years to the day that the Milliken Police Department (MPD) convened a focus group2 to talk about how to incorporate community policing into its new police facility, many if not all of the recommendations had progressed to brick and mortar representation:

Milliken’s solution was to raise the building off the sidewalk to be above the heads of pedestrian passers-by on the sidewalk and passing motorists on the street, and place ballistic body armor panels in the spandrel glass panels below the windows, including the protruding glass window outside the Great Room.

Video cameras on the front of the building allow police personnel to watch over the main street, including businesses like a bank and convenience store, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The cameras provide perimeter security for the building, can be used to collect data, and emphasize that the Milliken Police Station is built fundamentally to provide public safety for the community.

The Dedication Ceremony6 was anchored by remarks from the COPS Office, the Colorado Attorney General, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, District Attorney for Weld County (Colorado), and U.S. Senatorial representatives. Presiding over the ceremony, Chief Burack quoted Winston Churchill: "We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us,” as he explained the promise of the Milliken Police facility’s physical work environment shaping not only the police staff’s organizational culture, but helping to shape the town of Milliken.7

If it is true that a police facility can shape the view of community members who pass by the building or come inside for police or court services, could Milliken have created a police facility that will not only promote a safe community, but will serve as a building block for a vibrant and sustainable town for years to come?

Collectively these elements have contributed to creating a facility that could make the Milliken Police Department more successful in the delivery of a community policing and problem-solving style of service. Yielding closer citizen- police relationships and encouraging the flow of information, the new Milliken Police Station and Meeting House may serve as a model for other cities as a neighborhood-based police station that supports community policing.

Photos taken with permission of Milliken Police Department, courtesy of Jim Burack and Debra Cohen

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