BVPD celebrates 10 years in 'new' station

Mayor Debbie Sutherland and Ruth Popovich (not pictured) visited the Bay Village police station on May 6. Standing, from left: Lt. Calvin Holliday, officer Michael Bourque, Sgt. Elliot Silva and Chief Mark Spaetzel. Photo by Tara Wendell

The Bay Village Police Department is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its station house this month. In honor of the milestone, the department held an informal ceremony on May 6, welcoming Mayor Debbie Sutherland and Ruth Popovich, the city’s assistant finance director, for a trip down memory lane.

“We’re here because Ruth remembered that this month was our 10th anniversary,” said Chief Mark Spaetzel.

The finance department was heavily involved in the process, monitoring costs as the city dealt with legal and environmental issues that affected construction.

“We tracked every dime that went into this building,” Popovich recalled. “All the change orders and everything; it’s hard to walk in here and not think of the contractors, and the lawsuit and the ground remediation.”

The group, including several officers who have been with the department since before the move, reminisced about the old police headquarters, which had been housed on the ground floor of City Hall since the 1950s.

“It was disgusting,” Mayor Sutherland said of the former station. “One of the major reasons that we needed to make the move was because it was so dangerous to process any prisoners over there because there was no room.”

The space was cramped and outdated, with four holding cells, the dispatch center, the officers’ locker room and records department in an area that is now home to the SafeBuilt building department, administrative offices and the woodworking shop.

“Where the wood shop is now, that used to be the sally port for prisoners,” Popovich said. “Officers used to pull their cars in and close the doors and they would have access to the police station.” Added Chief Spaetzel: “When we arrested somebody, we’d have to shut down the whole department as we’d walk in a prisoner. It was a disaster waiting to happen.”

“When the police department was located at City Hall, we were in violation of so many regulations,” said Sutherland. “It was only a matter of time that if somebody got hurt, whether it was an officer or a prisoner, the liability for the city was tremendous. We didn’t have any way to improve it at that current location, so that was one of the overarching reasons that we built the new station. It was old and we couldn’t upgrade it sufficiently to meet the regulations for jails.”

Operations were officially transferred to the new station when the old phones were closed for good at 1:32 p.m. on May 22, 2006, according to police logs provided by Lieutenant Calvin Holliday.

“I don’t know how we did it. This room is as big as the old station,” joked officer Russ Kime, referring to the conference room in which the anniversary commemoration was held. “This place is the Taj Mahal compared to where we were.”

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 11:06 AM, 05.17.2016