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Knightdale police are running out of space

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KNIGHTDALE — The town’s police chief told town leaders last week that the police department needs more facility space, and sooner than later.

Cramped office and storage space is due in part to the heavier workload the Knightdale Police Department has in policing a growing population, Chief Lawrence Capps told the town council at the board’s Nov. 20 meeting.

“Obviously you don’t have to be in Knightdale very long to know we’re growing,” Capps said. “With that growth comes a lot of challenges. The main challenge we face is figuring out as a town how to keep pace with the service demands of a growing community.”

Capps had come before the council to request funding for a spacial needs study. The $32,400 study will look at data and current and projected spacial needs to determine if the police department should renovate and expand its current space or build a new facility altogether.

Council unanimously approved a contract with Gastonia-based Stewart-Cooper-Newell Architects, a firm selected by the police department, to begin the spacial needs study.

The Knightdale Police Department shares a facility with the town’s fire department at the town’s municipal complex on Steeple Square Court. The nearly 20,000 square-foot building was built in 2001 and remodeled in 2013, records show.

The remodeling was one of several recent attempts at making better use of the existing space, Capps told the council. Last year, the town built a 1,400 square-foot substation that the departments supervisors are expected to move in to.

But the town keeps growing, and the department is expected to need to hire additional employees to keep up with demand over the coming years.

“Even with those adjustments, we’re at a place where into the future we will not be able to provide a service at a level I believe that our community expects or demands,” Capps said. “It’s just one of the challenges we face with growth.”

Jim Stumbo, a project architect with Stewart-Cooper-Newell, told the council that the firm’s recommendations to renovate or expand had been used in other cities, including Apex and Holly Springs.

Responding to Councilman Mark Swan, Stumbo said the study would take into account how the current building is shared with the fire department.