FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — The Fayetteville Police Department is looking to enhance security around it’s building after a gunman shot and killed an officer in the back parking lot.
The Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale Police Departments all have gated parking lots for officers that are separate from the main entrance and cannot be accessed by the public, according to their respective public information officers.
While the Fayetteville Police Department has a separate gated parking lot across the street for patrol units, the back lot is open.
“It will change the way these guys do their job now, because they will have to be watching over their shoulders all the time,” said Johnnie Stevens, who works alongside officers at Bud Walton Arena. “These things shouldn’t be happening.”
Stephen Carr, 27, was sitting in his patrol unit when a gunman, London Phillips, walked up behind his car and shot at him multiple times.
FPD performed a “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design,” or CPTED, according to Sergeant Tony Murphy. It’s a report that identifies ways to enhance building security.
He says, for example, they walked around the building looking for dark spots to enhance lighting.
“The safety concerns and the hardening of a police facility are not the same 27 years ago as they are today,” Chief Mike Reynolds said.
Earlier this year, Fayetteville voters approved a bond measure allocating $36 million for a new police headquarters building.
“It passed with over 70% of the voters. We are in the process of securing the land and then we also secured an architect. We secured a construction management firm,” Reynolds said.
The new facility will be a campus concept including three buildings, “one for the main police department, housing all personnel; another for training, with vehicle and evidence storage; and finally, an indoor pistol and rifle firing range.”
- There is limited public and handicap accessibility in the current space. The new facilities will be fully ADA accessible to all residents.
- The department’s current firing range was built in the early 1960s on a former water treatment facility, which regularly floods in heavy rains, making the range unusable. Although we are currently working with Washington County Sheriff’s Office to use their handgun range, our department’s access is limited, and the county’s range is restricted to handguns only. The new facility will allow for pistol and long-gun training for all officers in a safe, enclosed environment.
- The new facility will include additional meeting and training space host public meetings as well as self-defense classes, tactical training, or de-escalation of force training to officers and the public.
- The new headquarters will provide much-needed additional storage space, with room to expand.
- A new facility will greatly expand available space for evidence processing.
- Both men’s and women’s locker rooms in the current space are at or beyond capacity. As our force expands to match population growth, the new facility will offer plenty of space for both male and female personnel.
Brinkley Sargent Winginton has been chosen to design it.
However, it will not be built for another three years.
Reynolds says he met with the city budget director and Mayor Lioneld Jordan to discuss what they can do short-term.
“What I want to make clear…it always makes you feel vulnerable at the Fayetteville Police Department. But, if it wasn’t here the suspect was going to kill an officer, and he would have killed him anywhere,” he said.
Brinkley Sargent Wiginton Architects will be in Fayetteville on Thursday to discuss the design with the police department. The team is still in the very early stages.
Mayor Jordan was not available for comment.