In August 2018, the Opelika Police Department broke ground on a facility. Thirteen months and $18 million later, the 37,000-squarefoot building on South 10th Street is finished and furnished.
Addressing the audience for the facility’s celebratory ribbon-cutting Friday, Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller said the new building will give the officers and staff more space.
The facility comes complete with a new patrol room, gym and lockers for officers as well as upgraded kennels for the department’s K-9 officers.
There also will be a Municipal Court in the building, which will be completed in the next few weeks. In addition to the city’s Municipal Court procedings, the court will also serve as the location for the city’s Planning Commission and City Council meetings.
Among the law enforcement personnel present for the ribbon-cutting was state Attorney General Steve Marshall, who expressed his congratulations and commended OPD officers for “their sacrifice.”
“One thing I think that those of you who are here today recognize is that law enforcement is very different, and I mean that in a unique and good way,” he said. “Because when those men and women put on their uniforms this morning to leave their home, their families didn’t know if they were going to return.”
Seeing the investment that the community has made in the Police Department, Marshall added, shows that it recognizes their importance.
Chief John McEachern reflected on his long history with the department.
“I first entered the Police Department here back in the old building in 1974,” he said. “The day I walked in, I was offered a job, and I started working that night.”
McEachern also took a moment to recognize the influence that some of his past colleagues within the department have had on his career.
Final touches for the new facility include the demolition of the old building, the site of which will eventually become an additional parking lot and smaller facility for the K-9 unit.