Paducah's Police and Fire departments may consolidate facilities to operate under one roof.
Police Chief Brandon Barnhill says he and Fire Chief Steve Kyle have been researching the idea of a joint-department facility for about five years and are now looking into how it could work for Paducah. Barnhill says both departments are currently working out of cramped, out-dated quarters.
“We have a flurry of issues with the facility as well as the fire department has several issues they are trying to maintain and deal with; structure, integrity, those types of issues," said Barnhill. "So what we’re looking at is to expand our operations, combine services, and just see if we can’t efficiently save the city some money.”
Barnhill says any savings would come from integrating administration and computer systems.
In 2012, the police and fire departments combined their construction budgets to begin saving for the potential project. But Barnhill says the project is in its infancy and it’s too early to talk about a potential price tag, however the idea is to have facility that could accommodate for the departments' needs for the next 30 to 40 years.
In February, Chiefs Barnhill and Kyle along with City Manager Jeff Pederson will visit two towns in Florida with joint fire and police departments to examine the pros and cons of a consolidated building.
"It’s not something that is always possible in a given locale," said Pederson. "But one of the assets we have in place in Paducah to even be thinking about this is a chief of police and a fire chief that have an open-mindedness and are wise enough to consider how the public can be better served and how the taxpayers can potentially save money."