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North Las Vegas jettisons old cop shop

North Las Vegas paid to hand over the city’s decades-old police headquarters Wednesday, losing up to $1 million on the long-awaited sale of its James B. Slagle Public Safety building.

A City Council-approved $1.9 million purchase agreement inked with North Vista Hospital will see officials keep a year of lease-back rights to the oft-maligned property while footing the bill for an estimated $3 million in costs associated with moving the North Las Vegas Police Department four blocks north to the city’s Justice Facility.

The city plans to spend more than half that total on bond-financed technology upgrades and about $1.2 million to shuttle people, evidence lockers and plasma labs to the department’s new home.

City Finance Director Darren Adair said the effort works out a lot better in practice than on paper. The city isn’t losing money on the move itself. The cost comes in with the technology improvement issues.

“We actually sold the building for more than its appraisal price, and the IT issues we’re looking to address were pre-budgeted several years ago,” Adair said.

The department’s old headquarters will be razed and replaced by a planned hospital expansion at 1301 E. Lake Mead Blvd., part of a spate of improvements the hospital hopes will bolster the city’s downtown redevelopment efforts.

Wednesday’s agreement comes after months of internal wrangling over where police officials would relocate and who should pick up the tab for the moving vans.

Officials report those issues were resolved shortly after hospital officials threatened to pull up stakes and leave the city, depriving leaders of millions in future tax and redevelopment funds.

Workers plan to spend the next few month’s building a $219,000 perimeter fence for department vehicles and to provide secure employee access at the new Justice Facility digs.

Emergency phones won’t go unanswered in the meantime, with city police dispatchers already prepping for a 17-mile commute to work at Henderson’s police headquarters.

City officials say the move will not become permanent and expect dispatchers to rejoin their co-workers at the Justice Facility within the year.

North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association President Leonard Cardinale said the relocation effort is already making waves among staff.

“You hear a lot of talk that they’re thinking about just using Henderson dispatch full time,” Cardinale said. “Our dispatchers aren’t too happy about it.”

Police Officers Association President Mike Yarter didn’t shed any tears over city plans to mothball the old cop shop, one he said was plagued by a host of well-documented flooding, maintenance and asbestos issues.

City leaders are expected to complete the department’s move to the nearby Justice Facility by the end of the year.

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