After years of searching and a lot of stopping and starting, it looks like the Frederick Police Department may have found a new home — and it is less than a mile from the current headquarters downtown.

If the building works, we can all offer a sigh of relief.

The Frederick mayor and Board of Aldermen will meet Thursday to consider buying the building at 100 E. All Saints St., which once housed the county’s Department of Social Services.

The proposed price tag seems reasonable at $6 million, especially when compared to the cost of constructing a new building, which was being considered.

The Department of Social Services moved out of the building in 2017 after the state, which leased the office, was unable to reach an agreement on a new term with the owners, Nathan Family, LLC.

The office was moved far north, to 1888 N. Market St., almost to Liberty Road, a decision that pleased almost no one. Many clients of the department must depend on public transportation, and several live around the downtown area. They had been able to walk into the office or take buses to the East Street transit center. After the move, the county had to create a shuttle service from downtown to the new office.

The building, which was named for former governor William Donald Schaefer, has about 65,300 square feet of space and is roughly four times the size of the current police headquarters. It has been vacant since Social Services moved.

The city police department has been located in the Frederick County Courthouse for nearly 40 years, but it long ago outgrew that space. The courthouse office has about 16,300 square feet, and the department also uses city-owned space in the parking garage across the street. Altogether, the department uses about 25,000 square feet.

The city has been studying the need for a new police headquarters since at least 2017. Chief Jason Lando, who was hired this year, said the need for more and better space is critical to the department.

“When I first arrived in Frederick and began assessing the needs of the organization, I was immediately struck by how inadequate this current facility is for the needs of the police department,” Lando wrote in an email to News-Post reporter Mary Grace Keller.

“Our employees are basically working on top of each other, we lack appropriate space to process and store important evidence used in the prosecution of cases, and we have no community space, which is important in a modern-day police facility.”

Police spokesman Allen Etzler told our reporter that the city has budgeted $25 million for a new headquarters, and the Schaefer building would have to be renovated to meet the department’s specific needs.

If the mayor and aldermen approve the contract, the department’s first move will be to do a feasibility study to determine whether the building can be adapted at a reasonable cost. If it is possible, the department could move to the new offices in late 2023, Etzler told our reporter.

However, if the study does not show the building will work for the department, the contract gives the city until Dec. 5 to back out of the purchase agreement, with no loss to the city.

Lando said the All Saints Street building would keep police downtown while ensuring adequate response times across the city. He said it is a priority to keep headquarters centrally located and easily accessible. Lando also said the building’s size will meet current needs and give the department room to grow.

We agree that the location looks ideal. If the renovation can be done at a reasonable cost, this looks like a great solution for the department and the city.

(6) comments

joelp77440

This was mentioned back in 2017 when DSS moved out. Why did it take 4+ years to come back around to this?

Plumbum

I’m wondering if good access to any part of the city even exists anymore. The roads around the city are so congested I don’t believe there truly is good access anymore.

AOC

If you needed any proof, that moving police to 100 E. All Saints Street, is a bad idea here it is!

When the un-informed and the ill-informed believe it is a good move. it really means, it is most probably a bad move.

The top editor and news editors have historically changed on a bi-annual basis at the FNP. The most recent departing news editor is now the City of Frederick’s new mouth piece for Mayor Michael O’Conner. Just how independent was the FNP support for the purchase? A PIA request of email and telephone records of Mr. Etzler’s government accounts could be revealing.

The previous owner for the FNP, is still the owner of the property at 200 East Patrick Street which is still on the market for $4,450,000. Stimulated foot traffic in the area might be a shot in the arm for the property owners. The editorial/opinion editor is one of the few employee holdovers from the Randall family business. Very curious.

AOC

I wanted to correct my oversight in not crediting the author of the uniformed quote by Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known by his pen name Mark Twain.

“If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.”

― Mark Twain

Quite amazing, he has been dead for over 100 hundreds yet it was able to capture the current status of today's Frederick News-Post.

Dwasserba

Good access to different parts of the city using a variety of routes and it’s huge. Is there room to invite Social Services to return? Would they want to? What will the space they’d be vacating become?

AOC

DW, you ask a good question. Since the DSS is only renting at 1888 North Market Street it may be possible to lure them back. Who knows?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Already a member?

Login Now
Click Here!

Currently a News-Post subscriber?

Activate your membership at no additional charge.
Click Here!

Need more information?

Learn about the benefits of membership.
Click Here!

Ready to join?

Choose the membership plan that fits your needs.
Click Here!