By Caitlin Huston
For the Kokomo Tribune
With most of the work done by volunteers, the new Galveston Police Department is taking shape in what used to be an old gas station.
Renovation on the old Red Barn gas station began about five months ago as a solution for the department’s cramped office space in the town hall. The labor for the new police department, made up of three paid and six reserve officers, is mostly done by volunteers, with the rest of the expenses covered by grants.
So far, volunteers have helped put up siding, build a garage on the north end of the buildings and expanded the office area, according to Town Marshal Mike Clark.
“Right now we have most of the outside completed,” Clark said.
The inside walls are built, electricity is running and the heat ducts are finished as well, Clark said.
The work is remarkable, Clark said, because when they first started on the building they spent most of the time filling up trash bins with trash from the inside.
“It was a lot of work to clean it up,” Clark said, adding that they’re now on their fourth trash bin.
The department plans to section off space inside to include an office space for their reserve department, a garage for a reserve car, and a multi-agency training room for the Cass County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police.
“We will have a portion that is set aside for them to use,” Clark said.
This will be an improvement from the space they currently have in the town hall, which includes a shared room, Clark said.
“Right now we basically have two rooms,” Clark said.
The completed work has all been done by community volunteers, contractors and the Galveston officers, when they have time off, Clark said.
“There has been a lot of community support, tremendous support among the contractors,” Clark said.
For the items that have to be bought, Clark is using the $141,863.27 he received from the Cass County city and town fund. His was the only department to file for the money, which had been accumulating for years.
“If it wasn’t for him being able to capture those funds, the project wouldn’t be possible,” said Ryan Mix, vice president of the town council.
Mix said Clark also recently received an additional $14,000 from that fund and is getting discounts on some building supplies.
The department is leasing the building and will pay $1 a month for 20 years.
Mix said he sees the renovated department as “two victories,” as it give the police a larger and more visible location, while cleaning up what he called a “eyesore.”
“It’s important that the community know where their police department is located,” Mix said.
He said he’s also happy with the progress and community support.
“I think the progress is good considering that we’re utilizing pretty much all volunteers,” Mix said.
The project is expected to be completed in March and Clark said he will put up a plaque with the names of all the volunteers.
Mix said he also thinks the community support and new police station are a reflection of Clark’s leadership.
“It shows a lot of what Mike Clark being the town marshal is willing to do,” Mix said.