City of Catoosa breaks ground on new Public Safety Complex

The city of Catoosa’s police and fire departments will have a new home in 2024.

This after voters approved a $20.5 million dollar bond issue in Tuesday’s special election.

The measure passed with 66% of the vote. 545 voters participated in the election.

The city plans to break ground on its 9.2 acre plot of land in November. Fox23 spent time talking with both the police chief and fire chief following Tuesday’s election about why they believe plans to build a new public safety complex are long overdue.

Andrew Wimberly III, the Assistant Police Chief in Catoosa remembers visiting his dad, who worked as a Lieutenant in the current building back in the 1980′s.

Not much has changed, and it’s not just the look of the building. There’s also serious lack of space; seventeen people work inside the tiny station that’s just 3,400 square feet.

The move will triple their footprint at the new public safety complex that will be built on land at the corner of East Pine Street and North 193rd Avenue in Catoosa.

Wimberly says the new building will not only give them more elbow room, but will help with recruitment.

“I just envision driving down that highway,” he said, “you know over those two hills, and seeing that facility sitting there and just be like ‘wow’ I can do that, I can work there.”

The new 13,500 square foot police building would be accessible for people with disabilities, add space for interview rooms, and a 9-1-1 operations center.

A change Catoosa Police Chief Ronnie Benight says will improve response times:

“If you call the fire station it goes to the city of Tulsa, and if you call for an ambulance it goes to Rogers county,” he said, “so you have three different call centers for police, fire and ambulance right now and it’s just not efficient.”

Benight said he thinks it will improve their service dramatically.

The fire department also stands to benefit from the bond measure. Its new fire house will be centrally located with equal travel distance to both ends of the city.

Unlike the current space, which is spread between two different buildings, the new facility is specifically designed to serve the department’s needs:

“You come out of bed and go right into the bay of the fire truck,” Fire Chief Denus Benton, “instead of currently we’re running down stairs, going through the kitchen, running over to the other side of the truck and squeezing our gear on before we get into the truck.”

With the current configuration with two buildings, if firefighters need a brush truck or another engine, they actually have to cross the street which is a four way stop that can be quite busy especially before and after school lets out.

“Those little seconds make a big difference,” Benton added. Assistant city manager Eddie Faulkner says the city has funded every improvement it’s made in the last 80 years with general fund dollars.

“We’re at a turning point where we need facilities built for growth,” he explained.

Voter Jane MccCauley, who voted in favor of the bond issue on Tuesday agrees:

“Have you been in the police station?” she remarked. “Well there you go. I don’t need to say anymore.”

As for how much this will cost homeowners over the next 25 years, Faulkner says if you own a $150,000 dollar home, you’ll be paying about $21.00 a month for the police and fire station upgrade.

For more information on the tax implications, you can check out to City of Catoosa’s website.