Ogden police officers cope with cramped quarters, lack of meeting space and hand-me-down furnishings. But mention the toilet, and there's trouble.
One bathroom serves 60 officers - about as many people as there are stories of overwhelming overflows or the room's crumbling ceiling.In fact, there's a well-known and often-repeated saying among Ogden officers: "You don't go to the bathroom here, it comes to you."
Water closet woes, it seems, are at the apex of complaints about a station officers outgrew decades ago.
A 20-year-old study by Weber State University concluded that a "severe lack of space" was affecting police efficiency, morale and organization. Still, renovations have been few and far between.
Even Ogden Mayor Glenn Mecham agrees the conditions at the 8,684-square-foot police station are "horrible," and he doesn't even work in the building.
"It is dismal. I was over there about three weeks ago, and there are very deplorable working conditions," he said. "It just doesn't have to do with the aesthetics, because police do a lot of the cleanup and remodeling on their own."
The lack of space also could affect safety, police say.
The department has no room devoted for prisoner processing, although a study by an architectural firm specializing in the design of police stations nationwide said there should be 1,285 square feet for that purpose.
"The officers are in danger as well as the public who comes in here because there is no secure area for a suspect or those who have been arrested," said officer John Valdez. "The citizen has to sit in the same area as the bad guy."
What's more, there are some doors that have no knobs, while some doorways are without doors. And then there's the desks. Many are World War II surplus items.
"The building was designed for a 45-officer department with 1930s technology," Mecham said. "We're now in the 1990s with 106 officers plus civilian people and technology that is completely different. . . . We're doing pretty good considering what we have."
Mecham hopes to have a new public safety facility within two years. The City Council allocated $186,000 last year toward an architect's study and site plan.
But many station employees including Sgt. Joe O'Keefe are not encouraged. They say city officials have been talking about a new police station for decades.
"Officers wonder how those in the Crystal Palace (City Hall) can have it all, get anything they want and the best of everything, and we have toilets that back up," O'Keefe said.