Rockville’s “new” police station still retains many reminders of its days as a post office. Antique metal letters over the reception window advertise parcel post services and stamps, and post office boxes line one wall in the lobby. A plaque inside the door commemorates the building’s completion during the term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Chief of Police Terry Treschuk is proud of how well the architects preserved the building’s history as they converted it into a modern police station, although the post office signs have led to some initial confusion.
“They still get people coming in and asking, ‘Can I get stamps?’ or, ‘Can I mail this package?’” he said.
The Rockville City Police Department finished moving into the building at 2 W. Montgomery Ave. in September. A few years after the post office closed in 2006, Rockville began the process of converting the historic landmark into a modern police station, while still retaining its Depression-era characteristics.
Before the move, Treschuk said the police department was divided mainly between offices in City Hall and rented space across the street, but neither of the locations had the space the department needed.
“It was very tight; it was very tough,” he said.
Treschuk said the department, which employs about 95 officers and civilian staff, has gone from a total of 10,000 square feet of space to about 26,000 square feet.
Some of the benefits of the new facility are simple, like more space for the sergeants who supervise patrol teams.
“They had real cramped quarters before; now they’ve got professional working space,” Treschuk said.
The old post office building houses most of the department’s administration, and a new annex building in the back houses dispatch and other operations. The two buildings are connected by a pedestrian tunnel.
The station includes several amenities that the old police facilities did not have room for, such as a large roll call room for briefings and meetings.
“We can actually do a lot of training here, whereas our other roll call [room] was not even half the size of this one,” Treschuk said. “When you start doing realistic training, we just didn’t have the space to do it.”
The station also has a fitness area and a break room, both of which are big improvements over the old buildings.
“It’s the first time we’ve had a place where people can actually not be at their desks, but actually come into a break room,” Treschuk said.
There is also plenty of storage space for evidence, equipment and emergency preparedness supplies, as well as a new digital fingerprint scanner and dispatch equipment. The lobby in the annex, near where dispatch officers work, is open around the clock.
Grants helped pay for some of the equipment and project costs, and Rockville was able to use the old post office building for free.
“We’re very proud of this,” Treschuk said. “We kept the [historic] flavor of what they wanted. At the same time, the architects have done an outstanding job of making this a functional police department. It really worked out very well.”
The public is invited to a dedication ceremony for the new police station at 10 a.m. Oct. 20. An open house will follow from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parking will be available at Rockville City Hall or in Town Center garages.