FARMINGTON

Farmington police employees get a tour of the department's future home

John R. Moses
Farmington Daily Times
Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe, right, chats with employees gathering for a first look at the former Hilcorp office complex buildings alongside Bloomfield Highway that will soon be home to the Farmington Police Department in Farmington on July 20, 2022.

FARMINGTON – The tone was more like an extended-family meeting than a pre-tour presentation July 20 when a group of Farmington Police Department employees and some dependents traded outside heat for indoor air conditioning and waited to take a look through the department’s new headquarters buildings.

Police Chief Steve Hebbe joked about filling a blank wall with a mural, possibly including himself, before reflecting on what the acquisition of 50,000 square feet of high-quality office space means to the department and the community.

“This is the building we’ll retire in,” Hebbe said.

Hebbe told about 30 sightseers that he recently met with architects who will soon create plans and help determine which of the site’s two office buildings will be the public face of the department, as well as where individual offices and other functions like locker rooms and a gym will be located.

The city wanted plenty of parking to create an impound lot and secure employee parking in the same area. The old Hilcorp property features a wide expanse of asphalt in the rear of the property.

The chief did have one warning for those attending the tour. Due to a lack of keys, he said, those touring the place should not to remove any waste baskets holding doors open, as the doors were locked.

“And we got this for a song,” he said of the former office complex on Bloomfield Highway.

The Farmington City Council voted unanimously June 3 to close a deal that got the city 7.62 acres of property at 5750 Bloomfield Highway that formerly housed Hilcorp San Juan, L.P.

The office space comes furnished with desks, cabinets, cubicles and even a first aid station with a rolling chair – for $3 million. It includes conference rooms and a second-floor employee break area.

It also has an elevator, something the old station lacked.

Farmington Police Department employees toured the former Hilcorp offices, which will soon become the new home of the Farmington Police Department.

The city is working with a $3 million renovation budget. The purchase price and renovations will be covered by existing city funds from a budget surplus account.

A few things are needed, such as an armory, bulletproof glass and a secure evidence storage room. Hebbe said the new headquarters will allow for better interaction between different parts of the department, as they’ll all be in one complex instead of working in different buildings.

The new complex replaces a heavily-remodeled 1950s-vintage building on Municipal Drive that does not have an elevator or secure employee parking.

Hebbe said he hopes to bring the crime lab into the mix, and said there’s ample room to provide both secure parking onsite for department employees and an impound yard.

A collection of building documents are in an otherwise empty office in the two-story former Hilcorp building. Police Chief Steve Hebbe said the company gave the city a great deal so the city could buy the property and the land around it for a new police complex.

He’s also looking forward to creating a functional space for the department’s real-time crime center, where a network of cameras can track fleeing offenders in live time.

While Hebbe said the site is "a little bit on the fringe" of Farmington's city limits, it is close to a courthouse and the county jail.

In a news release issued in early June when the sale was announced, Hebbe said the patrol division and the department’s detectives and other specialty units are presently working in separate buildings, along with code compliance officers and the animal control team.

He called the purchase “a huge milestone toward upgrading our facilities. The move to this location will allow the entire department to be located in the same building for the first time in almost 15 years, the benefits of which we know will directly impact the citizens we serve.”