Police Facilities Planning Guidelines


Police Facilities Planning Guidelines


An effective police agency evolves to meet the ever-changing needs and demands of the community it serves. Unfortunately, many police agencies are housed in facilities that, while built for long-term service, have become inadequate for actual departmental functions. Since most communities will only design and build a new police facility every 40-50 years, few police administrators and local architects know the challenge of planning, designing, and constructing a new police facility; a task that can be both frustrating and expensive if some basic guidelines are not followed.

This document provides law enforcement executives and project managers with a planning model applicable to all types and sizes of facility projects. It cannot be emphasized enough that the design process requires a team effort including law enforcement, government officials involved in finance and building requirements, and architects familiar with the specialized design of public safety facilities. The goal of this document is to guide law enforcement executives through the facility planning process and alert them to specific design and construction considerations. While design and construction issues are unique to each jurisdiction, core planning steps are essential to every jurisdiction.

The guidelines cover four basic stages of the design and construction process: 

  • Phase I: Build Support for the Project
  • Phase II: Pre-Planning and Analysis
  • Phase III: Project Design and Delivery
  • Phase IV: Project Construction & Occupancy

Additionally, IACP has developed case studies that showcase a variety of police facility planning projects that have been completed in the past ten years. Each case study was written by the lead architecture firm overseeing the facility design and construction. The case studies contain pertinent information about the projects, to include timeline, budget, goals, challenges, and outcome. They also highlight different planning processes and construction methods, as well as innovative solutions to the numerous challenges that can arise during a complex facility project.

Planning, Designing, and Constructing Police Facilities Course

For more in-depth training on this process, attend an IACP Planning, Designing, and Constructing Police Facilities course. Upcoming course information is available at theIACP.org/PoliceFacilities.

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