An issue that Shreveport’s next mayor will need to address early next year is the Shreveport Police Department (SPD) headquarters building on the corner of Texas Avenue and Murphy Street.
Specifically, whether to continue to spend large sums of money on maintenance and repair or just start over with a new building.
The aging facility has many well documented problems with air conditioning, plumbing and restrooms and building security.
The SPD headquarters is, quite frankly, a dump compared to the Shreveport Fire Department headquarters on Common Street.
The estimated cost of a modern facility is an open question. The numbers range from $14 million to over $20 million. Any construction would be financed by general obligation bonds approved by Shreveport voters.
Chief Administrative Officer Brian Crawford says the now abandoned Sears building at Mall St. Vincent could be a great option for a new SPD headquarters. This building is owned separately from the mall.
Crawford highlights the large square footage of the 3 story building, the expansive parking around the building and the ground floor entrance on the south side as major pluses along with the proximity to I-49.
Relocation to this building could also give a much needed boost to the mall merchants. Whether or not the additional sales tax revenue to the city would offset the loss of ad valorem taxes from converting the building to a municipal facility is an open question.
Don’t expect Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler to be pushing a new SPD building until after the election. With her approval rating at an all time low, the last thing she will be talking about is a new bond issue.
Connecting the dots to say that a new building for the SPD with help reduce crime may be a Houdini task that no mayoral candidate is ready to attempt. However the issue of what to do about the current SPD headquarters is a good question that has yet to be addressed by the candidates.
(This article was published in The Inquisitor on Thursday, September 27, 2018)