WHEELING, W.Va. — Wheeling police officers officially have a new home.
A new headquarters for the Wheeling Police Department, located at 2115 Chapline Street, following a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday afternoon.
Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger said he’s noticed a major difference in efficiency among his officers since they moved into the new building in March.
“With everything we have here, we’ll have a higher-trained police officer and a more well-rounded officer that is physically fit and highly trained, functioning at a high level,” he said.
Ground was broken on the $6.5 million dollar building renovation project in Sept. 2021. The new building is the former Ohio Valley Medical Center Valley Professional Center.
The chief said the previous building, located inside the City-County building in downtown Wheeling, was only 4,600 square feet and did not provide enough space. The new three-story facility is more than 36,000 square feet with many new and improved amenities including office spaces, enhanced training rooms, a physical fitness area with a locker room, a secure entrance, a garage sally port for arrests, and a secure area for evidence storage.
Schwertfeger said training rooms will include simulation for driving, critical incident and defensive tactics.
“We’ve already been hosting trainings,” he said. “We have multiple conference rooms and our investigations conference rooms all have state-of-the-art technology inside so you can train anywhere, have meetings anywhere and accomplish anything,” he said.
A new community room will be able to house between 50 and 75 people.
Schwertfeger said several years ago when former President Donald Trump was in town, his department did not have a place to host the Secret Service.
“We had no place to meet. We had to go to a local college or find some other means. That’s all settled now,” he said.
The facility also includes a bunk room for officers who work long hours and have to return to the job shortly after that, Schwertfeger said.
“They can just lay their heads down in one of our bunk rooms and not have to go home if they have a 30-45 minute drive,” he said.
Schwertfeger said he hopes the new headquarters will help with recruitment and retention.
“Unfortunately, we’re really struggling with interest in young people today in any law enforcement professional capacity, but I think we certainly make a habit and have started hosting our testing here,” he said.