Call it CSI: Larkspur. Twin Cities Chief of Police Todd Cusimano describes the new headquarters as one of the most unique in Northern California, if not the nation.
Cusimano and a host of local officials unveiled the new Doherty Drive facility Saturday before a crowd that packed the parking lot to overflowing. The rain backed off for the ribbon cutting ceremony, although the wind threatened to blow down the tents.
The crowd found shelter in the new two-story building, which was finished two months ahead of schedule and $2 million under budget. The building itself is impressive, but it's what's inside that's really stunning. The forensic evidence room might not quite match Hollywood's vision of modern crime fighting, but it comes close.
"I believe, years from now, we'll look back on this facility as one of the best investments we've ever made," Corte Madera Mayor Bob Ravasio said. "This building is symbolic also of what our two towns can do when we work together. We've created something here that is more technologically advanced, better equipped and greener than either town could have done on its own."
The new facility is also tangible evidence of a new cooperative deal between the TCPD and San Anselmo Police. The new dispatch center in the building will serve both agencies, saving money and manpower. San Anselmo Chief of Police Charles Maynard looked thrilled as he got an up-close look at the facility.
The station includes a community/meeting room, a state-of-the art communications center, holding cells and evidence processing areas.
"A lot of it is storage space. It's locker space, it's a community room, it's emergency preparedness areas and then offices for the employees we have," Cusimano said. "There's nothing extra here."
It's a far cry from the rented office space that had been the temporary Twin Cities Police headquarters.
"We used the closets to hold prisoners, and they didn't like it," joked Cusimano.
Officers working long shifts won't have to drive home with no sleep. Instead, they can crawl into bunkbeds to catch a nap.
Solar panels, recycled materials, natural lighting and the latest technology give the building a platinum LEED certification, making it one of the greenest public facilities in the country, according to Larkspur Mayor Len Rifkind.
None of that wasn't lost on the audience as folks toured Cusimano's pride and joy.
"It almost makes you want to get arrested," said one visitor as she passed through the second-floor offices and stared out the windows at the marsh.
A plaque next to the main entrance dedicates the building in the name of former Chief of Police Phil Green, who helped drive the early design and construction of the facility. There's just one problem with the plaque, it says "Dedicated February 2012."
"We're not only ahead of schedule, we're ahead of the dedication," Cusimano joked as he read it aloud to the crowd.