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Joining Forces

An improved workplace for merged police departments

The small California municipalities of Larkspur and Corte Madera, both located just north of San Francisco, combined their police forces in 1980 as a cost-saving measure. But money was still tight and their public safety facility was far from perfect. “Our old building was almost like a mobile home,” said Captain Mike Norton. “It was legal but piecemealed together — we had stuff like wooden cabinets with locks on them.”

When funding was acquired for a new building in 2008, the chief called in the local Spacesaver affiliate to design storage solutions for evidence lockers, personal lockers, files, and sally port lockers. The chief had recently attended a walk-through of Sausalito’s new police department, which had been designed by Glass Architects, along with Systems and Space design consultant Catherine Belmont.

The planning group wanted to make smart use of their available space, in large part because the new building would eventually house a further expanded police department comprising yet another municipality and a portion of a fourth. The new entity would be called the Central Marin Police Authority.

Central Marin Police Department Building
LEED® Symbol - U.S. Green Building Council

The recycled steel in Spacesaver products helped the new building achieve LEED platinum certification.

Single door access with combination lock and drawer for personal gear storage at Central Marin Police Department

Personal Storage Lockers

The planning team acknowledged that the officers were working hard in tough conditions, dealing with unruly suspects and frequent uncertainty during hectic shifts. The planning team wanted to boost morale by investing in the officers’ comfort — and they saw the new building’s locker rooms as the best way to do that. They wanted the new locker rooms to be an oasis of order and safety for the officers. The defining feature of any locker room, of course, are the lockers themselves — so the planning team determined that the officers’ personal lockers should be a major focus of the project. They particularly liked the heavy-duty quality and versatility of Spacesaver’s FreeStyle® Personal Storage Lockers they had seen at the recently completed public safety building in Sausalito.

With that commitment to quality in mind, they decided to invest in sturdy lockers that would stand up to frequent use. The Spacesaver consultant worked with the officers to create a list of “need to haves” and “nice to haves” for the locker rooms, which included:

.01

ADA Compliance

Designing an ADA-compliant locker room involves more than just installing an accessible locker. The Spacesaver consultant knew how to ensure the locker room aisles would provide adequate turning space for wheelchair users, how to design and locate a bench for comfort and accessibility, and how to provide appropriate and accessible areas for instances when privacy would be required.
.02

Charging Ports

The officers wanted to be able to charge electronic devices while they were off duty, so the devices would be fully charged and ready for use at the start of each shift.
.03

Lockable Inner Compartment

Handguns and other valuables can be stored inside a lockable compartment within the locker, which adds a layer of security.
.04

Duty Bag Drawers

Sized just right for officers’ duty bags, drawers located on the bottom of each locker provide convenient access to the essentials that officers need to take out on patrol.
.05

Custom Double Doors

Double doors allow for quick and easy access to locker contents, and vents allow for ample air circulation around garments and gear.
.06

Slanted Locker Tops

After working hard to design efficient and attractive locker rooms, the planning team wanted to ensure that the rooms’ orderly appearance would be maintained over time. To prevent horizontal locker tops from being used for impromptu storage, the Spacesaver consultant specified that the locker tops should be finished with slanted steel toppers.

Spacesaver’s FreeStyle lockers were the ideal solution. In addition to providing all the features on the officers’ list, the lockers offer a variety of configuration options to suit officers of different heights and preferences.

While the locker rooms were a top priority, a number of other areas also required well-designed storage solutions. Other solutions installed at this facility included:

File storage on mechanical assist mobile storage system at Central Marin Police Department
Space-saving mobile shelving. A single facility now accommodates the combined paper files of several municipalities, so a compact mobile system was installed to save space. Shelving units are mounted on carriages that move along rails, which enables the units to be stored close together and eliminate wasted aisle space. Aisles are dynamically created at the point of need with mechanical-assist handles.

 

Universal™ Weapons Racks with perforated lockable doors store weapons in the SWAT room.
Universal™ Weapons Racks with perforated lockable doors store weapons in the SWAT room.

 

Sally port lockers provide secure handgun storage during suspect processing.
Sally port lockers provide secure handgun storage during suspect processing.

Evidence is secured in pass-through evidence lockers with doors in multiple sizes and a refrigerated compartment.
Evidence is secured in pass-through evidence lockers with doors in multiple sizes and a refrigerated compartment.

Since Spacesaver products are engineered and manufactured in the USA, the local affiliate was able to specify made-to-order solutions that met accreditation requirements, the officers’ specifications, the allotted space, and the budget.

The building opened in 2013, and while all the storage solutions are functioning well, the personal gear lockers are still the highlight for the officers. “The lockers were probably one of the most noticeable improvements for everyone in the department,” said Captain Norton. “The bulk of our employees are officers and the one special thing they get is a locker, so that was exciting.”

Learn more about our public safety storage solutions by visiting our law enforcement market page, or download our Public Safety Solutions Lookbook.

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