The Jamestown Police and Fire Committee heard comments from fire and law enforcement officials Thursday regarding adding a southside public safety building.

The topic was brought up for discussion during the 2022 budget discussions, although no money was included for the project in the preliminary budget that was passed.

The committee heard from the chiefs of the Jamestown Police and Fire departments and instructed Jamestown city staff to continue planning for the project but did not authorize engineering work or efforts to locate a possible location for the facility at this time.

"The project will likely cost millions," said Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich. "We would likely need a vote of the people to approve a mill increase to fund that."

Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police, said his department would use a new building for evidence, property and equipment storage. The facility could use outdoor secure storage for impounded vehicles as well as climate-controlled and cold storage indoors for other items.

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"The project includes first and foremost, the need to follow the best practices in holding and securing evidence," he said.

Currently, evidence is housed in five locations around Jamestown. In some cases, the evidence must be held forever and the need for storage continues to grow, Edinger said.

The Jamestown Fire Department would use the building to replace the fire station at the base of Mill Hill.

Jim Reuther, fire chief for Jamestown, said the new building would house the pumper and rescue truck currently at the south fire station.

"I'd like to get the hazmat (hazardous materials) equipment out of the downtown," Reuther said.

Currently, the department's hazmat equipment is stored at the main fire hall located near the railroad tracks, which is a possible location of hazardous materials incidents.

Other possible uses for a public safety building would include a backup location for the Stutsman County Communications Center and provide space for the Stutsman County Sheriff's Office in emergency situations.

While the Jamestown Police and Fire Committee took no action on the early plans, members voiced support for the project. Councilman Brian Kamlitz said there is a need for a new building.

"It is time to update and make some room," he said.

Councilman Daniel Buchanan said it was time to meet the need "without delay."

Heinrich said there needs to be more discussion before the project is considered.

"We need to have more staff work done on this before we move forward," he said.