Southern Indiana

New Albany officials are exploring options to relocate the city’s police department after an unexpected announcement from Floyd County’s government.

The New Albany Police Department has spent decades in the Frank C. Denzinger Criminal Justice Center, which is owned by Floyd County. But last month, the county said it may use the Denzinger building for probation services as part of its government facilities overhaul.

New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan said the county’s potential plans were a surprise.

“We’re just now formulating a plan,” he said. “And actually, it may be a good time for us to have this plan, because it’s been many years since any money has been spent to update the police station in any way, shape or form other than the jail.”

Gahan said while he didn’t expect to need new police headquarters, he thinks the “timing is good” due to the city’s current economic outlook. He said it also presents an opportunity to improve the police department’s facilities.

New Albany recently renovated the historic Reisz Furniture Building for its new City Hall. But Gahan said the city is considering building an entirely new structure for its police force.

“It’s a little too early, because we have a couple sites that are in mind,” he said. “But my gut tells me we need a new build. We’ve done a pretty good job with this facility, but we don’t have a structure like that kind of comes to mind when it comes to a police department.”

Gahan said funding for the new police headquarters could come from the American Rescue Plan or the recently-passed federal infrastructure bill.

The city’s public safety committee started meeting earlier this month to discuss relocating the police department. Committee Chair Jason Applegate, who also serves on the New Albany City Council, said the group will act as quickly as possible to ensure the police force has a home.

“Number one is finding out where and what that looks like,” Applegate said. “And then after that, step two is, is it a new build or rehab? From there, we’ll start getting that timeline put into place and [find out] how much will it cost and then, of course, how it’s paid for.”

Gahan said the public safety committee could release more information about options for the police department by January.

John Boyle is a reporter and editor at WFPL news focused on Southern Indiana. He is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.