MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — City council gave the Mobile Police Department the green light to use $20,000 to remove asbestos located in their evidence room. The building has been headquarters for police for over 20 years.
Manufacturers used asbestos to help strengthen and fireproof various products. Then, it wasn’t until 2009 folks found out it is the leading cause of mesothelioma, a type pf cancer. Police Chief Lawrence Battiste tells News 5 they didn’t know it was even here until they started on plans to expand the building.
At MPD headquarters, two small rooms and one long room is the only space police have to store 20-plus years of evidence. Chief Battiste says they’ve had to make do with what they had.
“Everything is stacked so high, so what we have to do is make some adjustments to where it makes it safe and accessible for our officers,” says Battiste.
In order to make it safe, they decided they needed to expand.
“As we grow as an organization, as we continue to take in new property and evidence, we need the ability to expand,” says Police Chief Battiste.
But it was during that expansion process that they discovered asbestos. Evidently, the contractor used the material in between the floorboards and the floor tiles. They’ve removed all evidence from these rooms to get ready for an asbestos abatement that can start immediately, thanks to the city council approving the $20,000 needed to do so.
“It gives us the ability to grow our property section because, as an organization, we continue to take in evidence daily,” says Battiste.
He would like the expansion to last them another ten years at least. Battiste says he has heard no reports of anyone having breathing or health issues due to the asbestos.