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SLO’s Police Station could be replaced with a Public Safety Center. Here’s what that means

Rachel Showalter

San Luis Obispo could see its Police Department replaced with a Public Safety Center in the next five years.

City staff presented a preliminary plan for the Public Safety Center to the City Council this week.

The estimated $52 million project would replace San Luis Obispo’s current Police Department on the same site.

The new facility would add more than 21,000 square feet of space including a Community Room and an Emergency Operation Center, or EOC.

Michael Scott is a technical expert with RRM Design Group who is helping with the project. He said the EOC will allow different departments to come together to address emergency events.

“This is that place where people come together, information is brought in and information is sent out so that the city can respond appropriately to protect the community during those events,” said Michael Scott.

Project staff said the Community Room is meant to be used as a connectivity space for groups to hold meetings or as a resiliency center for shelter during unsafe weather events.

San Luis Obispo Police Chief Rick Scott said the room is meant to help facilitate transparency and contribute to contemporary police department needs.

“It is a very exciting time as we are in the process of re-imagining policing and this opens up a lot of opportunities to re-engage our community in a different way,” said Rick Scott.

Many members of the public called into the meeting to oppose the Public Safety Center, suggesting instead the police be defunded and the money be invested in things like affordable housing projects and reducing homelessness.

City staff said the facilities need to be expanded to serve the growing population. They said upgrades are necessary to meet ADA compliance, earthquake standards and address general deterioration.

City staff have been assessing the Police Department’s ability to serve the public for decades and are now able to draft a project proposal with expected funding from Measure G.

If the project is approved on the current expected timeline, construction would begin around the 2025-26 fiscal year.

The project proposal will be evaluated over the next several years. City staff said community input will be considered throughout the project development.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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