Residents, elected officials, police and fire personnel and many others attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Maricopa Police Department substation at Copper Sky. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopa Police Department put its new substation on display for a ribbon-cutting event Tuesday. It is not fully open, yet. In fact, it’s not fully complete, at least as far as the police chief is concerned.

More than being a police presence south of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, the substation is the communication center for police and fire. It will use the new tower next to the Public Works fleet maintenance facility on Edison Road.

Mayor Christian Price drew attention to the Edison Road communications tower, which will allow the city to end outsourcing of its emergency feeds. “Now we’re going to be able to bring that home,” he said. “And this just helps speed things up and ultimately helps each and every one of you.

“But if we’d opened this building prior to opening up that tower, what use would it have been in that respect?”

MPD is moving into the substation, but it is not expected to be a full operation until May.

Budgeted for $4 million, the substation funds did not stretch as far as Chief Steve Stahl wanted. He pushed to get more technology.

“I think any of the law enforcement leaders in the audience will tell you, technology is at the forefront of our thoughts all the time – how can we be smarter, how can we be wiser, how can we fight crime better but not harder,” Stahl said at Tuesday’s ceremony. “That is through technology.”

Ak-Chin Indian Community kicked in $450,000 to help add technology and electronics. Chairman Robert Miguel said it was just another example in the long history of Ak-Chin and the city of Maricopa working together on mutually beneficial projects.

“We always help each other out in providing services in the best way possible,” Miguel said. He called Ak-Chin support of the substation “automatic.”

Even with the Ak-Chin aid, the substation does not have everything originally envisioned. It’s smaller, for one thing, and the police chief plans for that to change.

Stahl said the design had to “be able to be built upon in years to come and look like, when it was done, that it was all built at the same time. That was my task to the architect.”

That architect was Joseph Salvatore of Architekton in Tempe. He also designed the Copper Sky Multigenerational Center, which won the 2014 facility award from the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association. The substation shares several architectural elements with that neighboring facility.

Salvatore said he was particularly pleased with the building’s aspect after dark, calling the entrance porch “spectacular” at nighttime.

“It’s such a welcoming look and feel that draws people in and brings people to the police so they can have that dialogue,” Salvatore said. “That’s the key.”

He said he also wanted to create “exciting spaces” for employees, and used interesting angles to create visual value.

“This is the very first time we’ve done that,” Salvatore said. “Dispatch is in here 24/7 and they need something special. And with the natural light we have coming in here, that enlivens the space as well.”

The building was constructed by CORE Construction, which also built Copper Sky Multigenerational Center and the fleet maintenance building.

“It’s wonderful that we’re able to extend our public safety portion of our operations south of the tracks,” City Manager Gregory Rose said. “None of this would have been possible without the leadership of our mayor and council. Without their willingness to allocate funds and set aside funds and really be committed to the project, it simply doesn’t happen.”

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