Kyle’s police chief says new headquarters is long overdue

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KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — As voters make their picks for the primary, a new measure could be going on the November ballot in the City of Kyle.

The city wants to build a new police headquarters, expected to cost about $30 million.

Right now, the city is looking for a contract manager to figure out a final cost, which could then be funded through a bond proposal.

Chief Jeff Barnett says the new facility is crucial to keep up with growth.

When he started in 2011, Barnett says they were serving about 20,000 people. Now, he says, that’s jumped to more than 50,000.

Kyle PD’s second building, located at 300 Center Street, used to be its primary one. The facility used to be a post office. (KXAN/Tahera Rahman)

“We have practically doubled our staff to go along with that doubling of population here in the community and that trend is expected to continue,” Barnett says.

But they’re running out of space.

“We’re currently in an old bank building built in the 70s and obviously that wasn’t built with a police station in mind,” says the chief.

The 8,000-square foot facility was supposed to be temporary.

“It was supposed to be only about three years before we were looking at a new police station and I think we’ve been here closer to six years now,” Barnett says.

Right now, staff is split up in two locations: The main building on Front Street and the old building a few blocks away on Center Street.

“We don’t have room to expand, even though we’re adding more detectives, we’re out of office space there,” Barnett says as he points to his investigative team’s room.

Combined, Barnett says both facilities come in at less than 20,000 square feet.

Studies presented in 2011 and 2019 have recommended that that space be doubled.

Chief Barnett says not only will the new facility have room to grow, it will also allow them to apply for accreditation, opening up more state and federal funding.

“The Texas Police Chiefs Association recognizes law enforcement agencies both in their practices and standards. Your facilities come into play… and our current facilities do not allow us to move forward in that program,” he says.

Kyle’s Mayor, Travis Mitchell, says the new police headquarters will be off of Kohler’s Crossing, adjacent to RSI, Inc.

The six-acre tract is being donated by the landowners.

Mayor Mitchell says it’s a central location and once the city’s master plan is complete, the facility will have direct access to the city’s most heavily commercial districts, as well as easy access to I-35.

Last week, city council members approved up to $1.3 million for architectural services.

The mayor says they’ll start holding public meetings in about two months.

New fire station

A new fire station may soon be on the way, too, for the growing population of Kyle.

The Kyle Fire Department is part of an Emergency Service District made up of mostly volunteers.

(KXAN/Tahera Rahman)

The district is looking for land, which they hope to secure in the next few months, but Chief Kyle Taylor says the facility will be just east of Kyle city limits.

Taylor says that area has the highest response times combined with the most incidents.

Construction isn’t expected for about two more years.

This will be the district’s fourth station and Chief Taylor says the fifth will probably come soon afterward because of fast growth.

“When I became chief in 2013, we ran 2200 calls with 12 firefighters. In 2019, we ran close to 4500 calls and now have 36 firefighters,” he told KXAN in an email.

(Source: Kyle Fire Department)

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