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Lansing Police Department moving to temporary home

A Lansing police department car
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The bulk of the Lansing Police Department will move into a temporary home this summer.

Mayor Virg Bernero announced today the city will spend about $1 million to renovate and lease part of the Hill Center on the city’s south side.

The city’s current lease at the Motor Wheel complex on the city’s north side expires in August. Lansing has leased that space for more than a decade.

The new lease is only for four years.

Bernero hopes by then to have a permanent home for the Lansing Police Department. He says he hasn't ruled out the possibility of making this temporary headquarters for the department's patrol and investigations divisions permanent.

“It’s possible, unlikely yet possible, this could be such a wonderful fit that the police don’t want to leave here,” says Bernero, who adds that he expects the department’s ultimate home will be the old armory on South Washington Street on Lansing’s south side.

The city’s lease will help renovate the building and assist the city’s school district with much-needed upgrades to the rest of the complex.   

But the move is not universally applauded.

Carol Wood is a Lansing City Councilwoman. She considers the move an expensive “stop-gap.”

“What we’re talking about is if you went out and rented a home, decided to remodel that home, and walk away from it in three years,” Wood says. “Would that be a good investment for your dollars?”

Wood would like to see final decisions be made about the future of several city-owned properties, including city hall, which she says can be remodeled to accommodate Lansing Police Department’s needs.    

Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski defends turning part of the Hill Center into a temporary home for about 70% of his department. He says the cost of renovating the new space and renewing the department's current lease is “a wash.”

Yankowski says moving into the new facility will be cost effective and will not affect the department’s current response times.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.