Augusta's Law Enforcement Center woes

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, September 20, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---It's been plagued by leaks for years. Now things are getting worse at Augusta's downtown Law Enforcement Center. Today, Sheriff Ronnie Strength met with the city administrator to look for a solution.

Lt. James Young has been at theLlaw Enforcement Center on Walton Way since the beginning. He says, "Our actual move-in date, if you go back into the 80s, they had a leak and the building got flooded before we could ever move in."

Perhaps it was a sign of what was to come. 20 years later, the same building is plagued by severe leaks. Inv. Henry Black says, "After the third time of having all my paperwork and computer damaged by the water, I decided I would move back one desk."

Inv. Black says despite all the leaks there is still work to be done. "You just dry it off and keep going."

Investigators tell us as soon as they put up ceiling tiles they have to take them down. And it's just one of many problems. The cost to fix it all: $25 million.

"You've got a building here that's got all kinds of issues, and the decision we made several years ago is not to put more dollars in this building," said city administrator Fred Russell.

Mr. Russell met with Sheriff Ronnie Strength Thursday. They discussed moving to a new building. "Unfortunately nothing seems to be overly promising," Russell said.

The city is looking at properties downtown and in south Augusta.The problem is too little parking and too much money.

So is relief in sight? "If I had a crystal ball that could start telling you stuff like that I'd probably be in a whole lot different place than I am right now at the moment, but we're working diligently to try to get it done as quickly as possible," Russell said.

In the meantime, Lt. Young says, "I just try to look past it. It's just one of those things you're stuck with. There's nothing I can do about it."

He adds, "If they can find us a good place to go, I'm all for it...especially if it's dry."

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