When deputies moved into the Southern Precinct in 1996, the renovated 7-Eleven was already too small for their needs.
Deputies won't have that problem when they move into the newly completed, state-of-the-art Southern Precinct located off Route 40 in the Edgewood/Joppa area, according to Major Dale Stonesifer of the sheriff's office.
The precinct's dedication ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Friday outside the new building, located at 1305 Pulaski Highway.
The sheriff's office will give tours to the public on Saturday and Sunday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Cameras will not be allowed inside the building during these tours.
Patch had the chance to tour the facility and snap some pictures on Wednesday, before the big reveal this weekend.
"You'll see a lot of empty rooms," Stonesifer said.
The extra space is to give the agency room to grow. The precinct was built to accommodate the agency's needs for the next 20 years.
A community room, an area for fingerprinting and a juvenile room are all features that cater specifically to community needs.
If an organization needs a place to meet, a 100-maximum capacity room is available for use at the new precinct.
The new building will also facilitate fingerprinting so residents won't have to drive to the other end of the county at either headquarters in Bel Air or the Northern Precinct in Jarrettsville to have fingerprints done.
A special juvenile room, equipped with a television, comfortable chairs and no lock, is also a feature of the new precinct. This way, if a child is lost or has run away, he or she won't have to wait at the front desk, but can watch television and relax while waiting for parents to pick them up.
The room also complies with the law, which states a juvenile not charged with a crime can't be detained in a holding cell or locked room, Stonesifer explained.
The building does have four holding cells, however, two of which can house juveniles. Maryland law also states juveniles can't be held in contact with adults.
A back entrance and switches that fog the glass to two cells make detention of both adults and those under age 18 efficient and legal.
Inside the precinct is also a fitness center.
"It's very important for these guys to keep fit," Stonesifer said.
The fitness center was not funded by tax dollars, Stonesifer said, but rather from money seized through investigations of illegal drug trade in the county.
A garage will hold tactical equipment currently housed at an undisclosed facility in Forest Hill. Having that equipment in-house will allow the sheriff's office to cut $45,000 spent to lease the Forest Hill property, Stonesifer said.
What do you think of the new facility? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.