New Public Safety Building Reinforces Commitment to Community and Enhances Public Safety Capabilities

Sep 22, 2017 3:44 PM

By Robert Spahr ’13

Over the three-plus decades since its commissioning, Frostburg State University Police have occupied several temporary headquarters. The most recent was a repurposed elementary school building. Now, the department has a new purpose-built home on campus, which was dedicated last month.

University Police Chief Cynthia Smith highlighted the intentional layout of the new facility, which was designed and built to serve as a modern, sustainable, versatile base of operations for University Police and helps her officers best serve their public safety mission.

“I’ve told the architects and construction firm, if there’s ever the opportunity for them to build another police department anywhere, this floor plan is a model that could be scaled to serve anyone,” Smith said. “Whenever you envision a new space in three dimensions, a person like me asks myself, ‘Where are the pitfalls going to be?’ Well, there really aren’t any pitfalls. This building just works.”

The location, at the corner of University Drive and East College Avenue, emphasizes FSU’s commitment to the surrounding community and the positive collaboration between the University Police, Frostburg City Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies.

The building’s purposeful design facilitates University Police’s administrative, communications and law enforcement operations. It also was planned to meet the standards required for accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, which the University System of Maryland recommends for all campuses.

Frostburg’s Public Safety Building features 100 percent back-up generator capacity allowing continued operations during power outages – crucial for a department that remains open all year, 24 hours per day. Modern dispatch and communications equipment improve coordination with other public safety officers. The building doubles as FSU’s Emergency Operations Center, facilitating public communication in case of a major campus incident.

The building enhances the department’s investigative abilities, including digital fingerprinting, separate interview spaces for crime victims and those who have been detained, audio and video recording for interviews, secure evidence and property storage and facilities to maintain and administer the department’s body-worn camera program. The intentional design also provides for the safe and secure transportation, booking and temporary housing of suspects.

The sustainably designed facility has received LEED Silver designation from the U.S. Green Building Council.

At 5,500 net square feet, the building is twice the overall size of the former police station, and its construction was completed ahead of schedule, coming in slightly under budget at a cost of about $5.5 million, which includes planning costs and equipment. 

For more information about University Police, visit www.frostburg.edu/admin/police.