GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It appears Michigan State Police troopers assigned to the Rockford Post are getting a new home.
State legislators approved $57 million for a new facility that would combine the Rockford Post, 6th District Headquarters and the MSP Crime Laboratory into one facility in Walker.
State troopers have worked in the current location in Rockford for some eight decades, but times have changed. The two-story brick building, constructed in the 1930s through the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal project that upgraded public facilities and provide jobs during the Great Depression, has outgrown its usefulness as a modern police station.
“It’s cramped. There’s no doubt about that,” Trooper Christopher Gerard said of the Rockford Post.
Closets have been turned into offices. Offices double as storage areas.
“This is the basement area, where we literally have people working out of closets,” Gerard said as he conducted a tour of the post.
“There’s three personnel working out of this little area right here,” he continued as he entered the narrow room with desks on one side and storage racks on the other. “We use whatever space we have here for whatever we can fit in here.”
Even as troopers do more and more work from the driver’s seat of patrol cars, there’s still much work to be done at the post.
“But there’s a lot of work that, I guess, is a lot more practical to be done in a post setting, where you’ve got a little more comfortable and secure environment,” Gerard said.
Location is another issue. The Rockford Post was built just off Wolverine Drive, a central location then but not anymore in the modern expressway system.
“We need to be closer to a 131 or a 96 or something like that would be idea. We can do it from here, but it’s not ideal,” Gerard said.
By 2020, troopers hope to move into a brand new facility planned for a site off of Walker Avenue south of 4 Mile Road.
The building would bring together the Rockford Post, which serves several West Michigan counties; the 6th District Headquarters, now part of the cramped quarters in Rockford; and the MSP Crime lab currently located along Fuller Avenue in Grand Rapids under one roof.
“Logistically, for efficiency and response to calls for service on the freeways and so on and so forth, the new location would be more ideal,” Gerard said.