For years, the 122 officers and civilians who work for the Anne Arundel County Police Department's Eastern District have worked in a cramped, oddly designed station in Pasadena.
Prisoners have to be shuttled down a hallway between booking and holding areas. Officers do not have enough room to write reports. Computer wires dangle from the ceilings.
And people often can't find the station, which is tucked away off Mountain Road.
The police are about to get new digs, though. At a ceremony attended by County Executive Laura Neuman and Police Chief Ken Davis, officials broke ground Tuesday for a new $9 million district station in Pasadena.
"Our officers always had to deal with adversity," said Capt. Francis Tewey, district commander, as he ticked off instances of late nights and forced overtime in addition to the subpar station. "These officers deserve something new."
The new Eastern District station is expected to open in November 2014 at Pasadena Road and Altoona Avenue, one block off Ritchie Highway in southern Pasadena.
The station will have two stories, with a community meeting room, booking room and work space for patrol officers. Administrative offices and work areas for district detectives will be on the second floor.
"It's finally a building suited for police work," Tewey said.
At 20,000 square feet, the new station will be significantly larger than the existing one, which Tewey said was originally built as a four-room school.
"We made a police station fit into a schoolhouse," he said.
Tewey said he's heard complaints about the location of the new station, about four miles from the present one.
But he said the new station is more centrally located in the Eastern District, which stretches from the Baltimore City line on Fort Smallwood Road in the north to the end of the Broadneck Peninsula near the Bay Bridge in the south.
The new station will be just off Ritchie Highway and Route 100, which will make traveling around the district easier, he said. It won't be as far for people from Broadneck, Severna Park and Arnold to drive to the station to attend community meetings or to meet with officers.
Officer O'Brien Atkinson, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70, said his members are looking forward to working in the new station.
Among the quirks he's noticed at the old station: The building has been expanded in odd ways over the years, so that part of an exterior roof is on the inside of the station.
Atkinson said the need for a new Eastern District station has been discussed for 10 to 20 years.
"I'm happy to see it finally break ground because it's been in and out of the budget several times," he said.
It is unclear what will happen to the old station once the police move out. The old station is attached to a fire station.