Carmel Police Department Expands to Meet the Needs of a Growing Population

February 2021

Earlier this month, the Carmel City Council’s finance committee voted in favor of a $38 million lease bond to cover the cost of expanding the Carmel Police Department [CPD] headquarters. I spoke with Mayor Jim Brainard about some of the details of this expansion and how it will allow CPD to continue to serve the city at the highest level of service possible.

Growing Along With the City

According to Brainard, the original CPD headquarters at Civic Square was planned in the late 1980s and lacks the necessary space and security that is needed today. Today, CPD is comprised of 128 officers and 26 civilian employees. The expansion will also house the city court upon its completion. The courts were moved to an offsite location after the pandemic hit the city.

“It [CPD headquarters] was built for a city of 45,000 to 50,000, and we’re over 100,000,” Brainard stated. “There are two components to [this project]. First, it will [permanently] move the city court out of city hall. City Hall doesn’t have the security that we need today for a courtroom. With the [CPD] expansion, we can move the city court there, and we are building it to Superior Court standards so it can move up from being a city court at some point in the future. We’re building it with jury rooms and a sally port.”

Carmel's Mayor

Brainard further explained that the sally port will allow police vans to drive into the lower level when bringing in a prisoner from the jail and into an elevator that only goes up to the courtroom.

“A person, if they’re dangerous, can be in a holding cell until their appearance in court is needed,” Brainard said. “It will be a much more secure facility, and it will separate the public areas with the appropriate security from the court areas.”

The other important component to the project is the additional training and workspaces that will be provided to CPD and its staff. Since 1996, CPD has maintained the honor of being an internationally accredited law enforcement agency and was the first in Hamilton County to be so.

“We’re building additional ‘classrooms’ for the officers to train in. That’s an important part of the expansion as well,” Brainard stated. “The state has certain requirements for training in Carmel, and we’ve made the decision to quadruple that [training] on an annual basis. The expansion will be large enough to handle our police force now and for all time. There will be additional space for investigations, property storage rooms, offices for administrative staff and a crime laboratory.”

Designed to Last Several Lifetimes

The expansion of CPD boasts a classic Georgian Colonial architecture that will face South Rangeline Road.

“It’s going to be an attractive building,” Brainard said. “We were able to acquire the old Huntington Bank building and lot, so we will be able to build the expansion, bringing the two buildings together almost seamlessly so it does not appear to be something that was just tacked on [to the existing structure]. It will enhance the streetscape along Rangeline and is going to be built with steel and masonry. So, if taken care of correctly, it should serve the community for generations to come.”