The first full-time Urbandale Police Department was organized in 1958. Originally, the Police Department shared a desk with City Hall, located in the old fire station at 3816 70th Street. In 1961 the Police Department moved to City Hall, constructed at 3315 70th Street. They relocated to a converted construction building at 9401 Hickman Rd. (current Public Works facilities) in 1964.
Meeting the community’s public safety needs from the police station located on the southeast side of Urbandale had become increasingly difficult. In the fall of 1980 approval was given to construct a new police facility. This decision marked the first time in Urbandale’s history that the Police Department would operate from a structure specifically designed and built for police use. Urbandale Police moved into the new facility at 3740 86th Street in 1982. The personnel on the department included a police chief, sworn officers and civilian employees.
In 1997 the four communication dispatchers moved out of the Police Department and became employees of the newly formed WestCom organization. WestCom was made up of consolidated communications personnel from the cities of Clive, Urbandale and West Des Moines. The current WestCom operation is currently conducted within the West Des Moines Police Department facility.
The Urbandale Police Department facility met the needs of the Police Department for several years, but by the end of the 20th century it was becoming very apparent that additional space was required to accommodate a growing force in a rapidly flourishing community.
In 2006 the first phase of expansion to the current facility began, with initial efforts being focused towards the patrol division. In 2007 ground was broken to nearly double the existing size of the police station, with this phase focusing on expansion of the Criminal Investigation Division and Records. The Criminal Investigation Division personnel moved into the new area in June 2008. The final phase has been completed, which involved updating the existing facility to better match the newly constructed area.
Just before you enter the Urbandale Police Station's front doors you will crossover a thin blue line. The "Thin Blue Line" is a phrase known world wide to be associated with Police Officers. It is a line that symbolizes the final barrier standing between our law abiding citizens and those that choose to disobey the laws. It represents those men and women that are willing to give their life for the peace and harmony of the community they serve.
If you see that this Thin Blue Line is disrupted this means that an Officer has fallen or is injured in the course of executing their sworn duty of service and protection to their community. When this disruption in the Thin Blue Line occurs, it is the finest of men and women that step up to complete it. Helping to maintain order and provide continuous service to our citizens.
The Urbandale Police Department is currently made up of the Chief of Police, forty-eight sworn law enforcement officers, four civilian employees, one records volunteer and a ten officer volunteer reserve unit.
In 2008 the Urbandale Police Department converted their patrol vehicles from white Ford Crown Victoria to black and white Ford Crown Victoria. The graphics for the squads were also changed to compliment the new style. The new graphic design utilizes both a red & black stripe on the white doors, and a new letter design making Urbandale Police more identifiable. The red stripe on the sides is made of a reflective material for an added safety measure. Several white letters on the squad are reflective as well.
A traditional black & white squad car must involve a black vehicle with at least two white doors (and up to four), and sometimes a white roof. Squad cars with just a black hood and trunk on a white vehicle are considered to be a two-tone design. My understanding is that this black & white design began in the 1950’s out in California. The police television show Adam 12 featured this look on their squad cars during its taping from 1968-1975. The show Adam 12 and Emergency were apparently derived from some of the same people involved with the police show known as Dragnet (1951 +).
In the 1970’s thru 1990’s, there was a mix in color schemes to the municipal law enforcement agencies across the country. In the past decade, there has been a shift back to the traditional looking squad car designs. The squad car in the picture below is a 1978 Pontiac Catalina, and is positioned in front of the old police station at 9401 Hickman Rd. The Urbandale Police Department was one of the first agencies in this area to utilize a stripe along the entire length of a squad car.
The changes to the look of our squads were done for two main reasons. First of all, the black & white squads have a traditional look that the majority of our officers wanted to switch back to. We are working very hard to show our employees some of the history of law enforcement and of the Urbandale Police Department in particular. Developing a culture of tradition, pride and family helps make the workplace more enjoyable and unified. We believe that changes like this helps enhance officer morale and ultimately employee retention.
The second reason for the change is more practical. It is our belief that the traditional black & white style with our own graphic designs will increase the visibility and recognition of our officers as they patrol and answer calls for service. The use of more reflective graphics also helps with officer safety while out on various accident or crime scenes. We incorporated large vehicle identifying letters and numbers on the roofs of the squads to assist whenever aircraft may become involved in our police duties.
Examples of this would be emergency communications with Life Flight or Mercy One in locating a safe landing area, media interactions at major incidents and with air support during a car chase. The pictures below show one of the Ford Crown Victoria squads with the new graphics design completed.
The Urbandale Police Department is very proud of this new look and design of their squad cars. Even as the shift back to the traditional black and white design becomes more and more popular, we tried to maintain our own identity by staying with our red & black color scheme. Recently we added Dodge Chargers to our fleet of vehicles. Shown here is the Sergeant's squad car a 2012 Dodge Charger.