New Ann Arbor court building will be nice for police too
The new court building, which will also house the Ann Arbor Police Department, is shaping up nicely. Let’s not kid ourselves - this building wouldn't have been built specifically for the police department. It is only being built because the district court is being kicked out of the county courthouse, due to “overcrowding.”
I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth, but I am skeptical. The standing joke among officers, who had worked under four or five different police chiefs, was to predict when the new chief would assure the troops a new police station would soon be built.Â
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
Congratulations to my friend and former boss Chief Barnett Jones. He won the game of musical chairs, and his seat will actually be in a new building soon.
The Ann Arbor Police Department really needed a new building. According to a recent AnnArbor.com article: “City officials note the police department is located in a part of city hall originally designed for storage space and is badly deteriorating. Oftentimes after it rains, the ceiling leaks, and employees have reported air quality issues and black mold.”
All of those statements are true. I worked in the basement of city hall for 13 years, where the floors flooded in the bathroom and onto a set of detectives’ offices when it rained. Many times, my peers and I were dripped on as we walked up stairs to briefing in the morning. Several times, I was victimized when rain water percolated through two floors of asbestos, dust, mold and God knows what else to drip into my piping hot cup of coffee on my way up to briefing.
A small chunk of deteriorating concrete dropped on one officer's noggin while he climbed the stairs. Luckily, he was uninjured.
To protect us from these vile torrents on the stairway, the city installed a 6-foot by 4-foot sheet metal funnel under that ceiling leak. The funnel channeled the rainwater through a clear plastic hose into a five-gallon bucket on the stair landing. Â
In fact, dozens of various sized buckets were cleverly concealed under other leaks between the roof of the exterior mezzanine and the drop ceiling. The appearance of these buckets was only revealed if they overflowed or broke through the drop ceiling. Â
One small rain barrel landed on a detective’s desk, which luckily was vacant at the time. These buckets weren't emptied - they were just left to evaporate between rains. I am no biologist - in fact, much to the chagrin of my parents, I transferred out of University of Michigan Pharmacy School after my sophomore year - but might those evaporating buckets have created a mold problem?
Those of us in the basement were more concerned with the radon and possible asbestos levels in the stagnant subterranean air. The other detective supervisors and I agreed to be the last out of the basement when the city told everyone to moveÂ because of the elevated levels.
This was done to avoid panic in the troops, and also because after 13 years in the basement, a day or two more wouldn’t make much difference. Besides, I quipped to one concerned officer, “After 13 years you get used to your air being extra chunky - perhaps it even adds a little fiber to my diet.”
Lock it up, don’t leave it unattended, be aware and watch out for your neighbors.