When the Crime Control and Prevention District (CCPD) was approved by voters in November 1997, the vision was clear: to allocate a dedicated funding source, via a half-cent sales tax, for programs and capital purchases to reduce crime, increase public safety and maintain a high quality of life in Southlake. During the past 17 years, this vision has come to fruition through the hiring of additional police offers, firefighters and school resource officers; acquiring vital equipment and software; implementing a citizen safety academy; and most notably, building three state-of-the-art public safety facilities, the last of which will officially open January 14.
“This facility is an investment in our community and a promise for enhanced safety and security for our residents,” adds Mayor John Terrell. “The vision of the City Council and the Crime Control Prevention District Board for the DPS North Station has been years in the making, and we are proud of the work that everyone involved has put in to making this facility a success.”
Southlake’s DPS North Station has been in the making since June 2010, when City Council unanimously approved its construction. Located at 100 E. Dove Road near Bob Jones Park, the campus includes a 28,186 square foot operation and training building, and a separate 10,738 square foot firing range. Housing four firefighters per shift and a brand new engine, it is strategically positioned to serve the northern parts of the city faster, which results in saving lives and property.
Wade Carroll, Southlake’s deputy director of fire services, confirms this has already taken place since personnel began operating out of the building November 25.
“A structure fire was called in December 19 in Estes Park, which is a neighborhood down the street from the new station. Our guys arrived in just a little over three minutes and were able to contain the fire in the garage and keep it from damaging the rest of the home,” said Carroll, noting the average response time to north Southlake is approximately 10 minutes from the other two stations in the city.
However, DPS North was designed for more than emergency response. Equipped with three classrooms and an auditorium that can seat up to 100 people and has four flat screen monitors, surround sound and live streaming capabilities, it is meant to be a training center for internal purposes, as well as public and regional events. The adjacent underground gun range will also be made available to other DPS departments. A range master and two training officers (one for police and one for fire) are stationed at the facility and additional office space is available as the training program expands.
“There is no public safety facility like this in our neighboring cities and we expect it to be utilized for training activities throughout the year for our own employees, citizens and regional law enforcement partners,” Police Chief Stephen Mylett explained, adding initial events include a Business Safety Series starting January 29 and a city-wide CPR class February 15 in honor of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. “Not only does this keep our public safety employees nearby for training, but it will save the department money in training expenses.”
The DPS North Station also includes a walk-in clinic to assist injured persons, a kitchen and break area for training attendees, and a fitness room and living/sleeping quarters for fire personnel that were designed for quicker access to the engine bay.
Designed by Robert Garza, the same architect used for DPS Headquarters on Carroll Avenue, the buildings share similarities in exterior appearance, interior design and commemorative artwork that includes two bronze statues and a mural in the entrance depicting various scenes of police and fire personnel in the community.
Another unique feature of the DPS North Station is its nod to the environment. Using the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines, many energy efficient and conservation measures were implemented during construction:
LEED standards are intended to reduce energy and water usage, lower operating costs and improve comfort. As a result, an application has been submitted for the building’s LEED Gold Certification.
Saving lives and property is the mission of the Southlake Fire and Police Departments. Whether it is an auto accident, structure fire or medical emergency, getting there as fast as possible is critical to providing the highest level of public service. As one of only four accredited fire departments in Texas, Southlake must meet certain standards of operation and performance measures, including response times:
Currently, Southlake Fire Department’s standard response time is 6 minutes and 30 seconds, surpassing the national standard by 30-40 seconds. With the opening of the DPS North Station, the goal is to reduce the response time to 5 minutes. During 2013, Southlake Fire Department responded to 2572 calls, 409 of which were in the north district.
“There is no such thing as status quo. We are either improving every day or we are growing stale and complacent,” stated Carroll. “The Fire Department does not have influence on the location of the emergency it responds to, but it does have control of how quickly help arrives. Our goal is the fastest response possible to all citizens within Southlake.”