Leaking roof: SPPD standoff with weather leads to Dispatch relocation

Santa Paula Police Department

Santa Paula Police found themselves in a standoff with the weather Wednesday when a ferocious storm proved to be too much for the station’s already problematic roof.

During the storm, water leaked into the area holding SPPD Dispatch, which had to be moved to another location within the South 10th Street building.

The heavier than expected storm dumped about 1.82 inches of rain near the Santa Clara River, according to SPWeather.net, and just above 1.25 inches according to a weather watcher with a rain gauge in a residential area on the north side of the city.

City Manager Jaime Fontes said Wednesday that the “temporary relocation of police dispatch does not impact operations,” and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had a scheduled outage that evening that also would not impact dispatch. When it became apparent dispatch would have to be moved, Fontes said Dispatch Supervisor Chris Cook worked with IT Specialist Chris Thompson to relocate operations.

Fontes noted a new roof for the police building was also already in the works, but now would be fast-tracked. “The council had already approved the expenditure and a new contract will be awarded in a few days, early next week... the rain just came earlier than we expected.... It’s a Police Department matter so we won’t wait on it... we have the project funded, it’s already designed and the specs are ready to go,” possibly awarding the contract for the job as early as Tuesday.

Fire Chief Rick Araiza, who also heads Building and Safety, said contractors interested in bidding the work would be met with Monday, “Then hopefully we’ll get the contract cut next week.”

Dispatch was already slated for other work: “The area was going to be remodeled anyway,” and Araiza said Police Chief Steve MacKinnon “suggested we start the interior remodel” concurrently with the roof repair. “Hopefully soon,” said Araiza, “the building will be back to normal.”

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