North Lafayette Drive is now the central hub of city emergency services with the location of the new Sumter Fire Department and Sumter Police Department headquarters at the $10.6 …
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This article was originally published in Life is Good in Sumter 2019, a publication of The Sumter Item that is co-sponsored by the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce and the Sumter Economic Development Board. To see a digital version of the entire magazine, click on the following link:' https://issuu.com/theitem/docs/lig_2019_pages_web2'
Sumter Police Department
68 civilian staff including dispatchers
Sumter Fire Department
109 career firefighters
3 civilian staff
200 volunteer firefighters
32 support personnel
25 fire engines
18 brush trucks
7 service trucks
North Lafayette Drive is now the central hub of city emergency services with the location of the new Sumter Fire Department and Sumter Police Department headquarters at the $10.6 million Public Safety Complex.
Sumter residents voted for a second time to approve a one-cent sales tax to improve roads and infrastructure (for a full list of projects, see page 53.)
A combination of projects on the 2016 Capital Penny Sales Tax Projects list, construction of both headquarters buildings started in February 2017, and both departments were moved in by May 2018.
After years in their previous locations on East Hampton Avenue, the police and fire departments are enjoying their new spacious digs along with major upgrades to the daily operations.
One such upgrade for the fire department is a four-bay garages for its engines. And though this facility does not have a firefighter pole — however, one is on display in the lobby — the building is equipped with spacious lodging, conference and classrooms, a gym and a mini museum displaying the fire department’s history of service to the Sumter community.
Next door, the police department is also enjoying more of the additional elbow room as well as technology upgrades including more electronic capabilities and data storage.
911 Dispatch also made the move with the law enforcement agency and now has a more high-tech section for 24-hour operations along with an updated E911 digital radio system, which was also a penny project.
An open house was held on Sept. 18, 2018, where local officials celebrated the new additions to the east side of Sumter with a ribbon cutting.
"It's a great thing for public safety," Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark III said.
The selection of the Public Safety Complex for the penny sales tax demonstrates the partnership between the community and elected leadership to pick certain projects that have an effect on all of Sumter, he said.
Roark said the location and investment the community made in the area will only spawn growth throughout this area.
“It’s greatly appreciated,” said Sumter Fire Chief Karl Ford about the new headquarters. “We’re very honored to have it.”
The department actually outgrew the old building, he said, and there is room for growth at the new one.
Ford said the department is thankful the community is also enjoying the new building, which they helped fund.
Everybody shares in the cost of penny projects, he said, even people who are visiting when they shop in Sumter.