Hamilton Police Chief Eric Girt says a new investigative services building will allow the force to meet “contemporary requirements” for the handling of evidence.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held along Wilson Street, a couple of blocks from the central police station, signalling the start of construction on the $25 million project.
Chief Girt said the building will open by the end of 2019, boasting three vehicle examination bays and four separate forensics labs.
“One is for the scene, one is for the accused, one is for the victim and one for any other purpose,” he said of the four labs. Separating the labs will protect against cross-contamination and ensure the “integrity of evidence,” he explained.
Hamilton Police Services Board Chair Lloyd Ferguson said the city has managed to fund the project with no impact on the tax levy.
About one-third of the funding is being taken from reserves, the result of PanAm Games security surpluses. Ferguson adds that the balance comes from transferring the mortgage payments from Station 30 on Rymal Road, where the mortgage is “just wrapping up.”
The construction of an investigative services building has been under discussion at the police services board since 2010.
Chief Girt says one benefit of the long planning stage is that they’ve worked with downtown residents to address concerns about height and design, noting that “we’ve made a number of modifications as a result of input from the Beasley neighbourhood.”