With a new permanent chief in place and departments slowly moving in, Miami Gardens expects to have its new police department headquarters fully operational in a few months.
Miami Gardens won’t reach its most recent target of a December move-in, but City Manager Cameron Benson said the police department is 80 to 85 percent operational in the new building. The department is moving from its current home at 1020 NW 163rd Dr. to the city’s municipal complex off Northwest 27th Avenue and 187th Street.
“We pretty much have everybody in, except our communications group and our records retention department,” Benson said. “This has been, pretty much, a smooth transition for all of us.”
The new HQ, as with most of the municipal complex, faced multiple delays related to construction issues, design disagreements and financial issues. The new final completion date is estimated late January or early February.
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In late 2014, the city estimated the third phase of the municipal complex project — which includes the new police HQ — would reach final completion by September 2015.
“Obviously this has been something that’s been ongoing for a very long time,” Benson said.
The three-story building will house a real-time crime center, funded in part by a portion of the city’s $60 million general obligation bond, on the second floor. That floor will also house the city’s emergency operations center. The third floor will be the home for the police chief’s office and other administration and the first floor will contain general operations.
The new home for the city’s cops will be about three miles northwest of the current police building and Benson thinks that will give the force some advantages for deploying officers and for day-to-day interactions with neighboring City Hall.
“It’s convenient for overall operations from a city perspective,” Benson said. “It feels more central.”
The soon-to be-former headquarters will be used as a business incubator to encourage startup and small-business development. The city council approved those plans at the May 13 council meeting.