St. Pete breaking ground on $72 million dollar 'state-of-the-art' police department

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A controversial groundbreaking is set for Thursday morning at 10 a.m. in St. Pete.

The city will begin work on the new police headquarters, slated to cost $72 million dollars.

The price tag is almost three times more than initially discussed. A scaled-down version of this project that would have rehabbed the current facility, would have cost about $32 million dollars.

When completed, the new "state-of-the-art" department is designed to meet the city's needs for the next 50 years.

The main headquarters will be about 167,000 square feet, built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.

There will also be multiple generators to protect against power outages. Additional features will be added including a firing range, as well as a parking deck.

The existing department will be demolished sometime in 2019. The space will possibly be used for another facility or parking in the area.

All of this comes on the heals of the department's recent announcement of a major new tool to help their crime fighting efforts.

Officers are also wearing brand new body armor vests. The vests weigh less than 4 pounds, which is much lighter than the old vests, which were 20 pounds.

 

 

 

They also help the officer carry more gear on their chest instead of their gun belt. That's better to distribute weight off of an officer's back and hips.

Yet, the most important part of the custom vests: They can deflect the bullets of high powered assault rifles.

St. Petersburg is one of the first departments in the country to get the lighter and stronger bullet proof vests.

Lorraine Yaslowitz-Marino, the wife of fallen St. Pete Police K-9 Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz, donated the first 40 vests. City Council chipped in a little more than $200,000 to provide the vests to the rest of the department. 

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