Construction on schedule for new prosecutor’s office

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A floor plan for the future office location of the Union County Prosecutor shows a change in space and layout. Prosecutor Dave Phillips said the design of the building was done to better accommodate the office staff and visiting public. Visitors to the new location will notice the addition of public rest rooms and a more child-friendly waiting area. The completion date for the construction at the old Richwood Bank facility is April of 2020.

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Despite some disruptive weather throughout the month of June, construction on the former Richwood Bank building is on schedule, according to Union County Prosecutor Dave Phillips.

Once the project is complete, Phillips and his staff will move from their current office on the third floor of the Union County Justice Center to the renovated bank building.

Staff will remain the same but there will be some changes to those who visit the prosecutor’s office.

“I don’t know that we’re going to have a lot of new equipment per se, but we will be better organized,” Phillips said.

A main focus of moving into a new building is to have more space and to use it better, he added.

“When we have a prosecutor or a team of prosecutors and others prepping for a trial, that usually takes one of our conference rooms,” he said. “We’re laying out photographs, witness statements, putting together witness folders. There’s a lot that goes into trial prep.”

He said the new space would have a room set aside for that, giving the building a total of four conference rooms. Included in that will be a “soft” conference room located near the main entrance that Phillips said would be more “child-friendly.”

“I was working with the architects to think about the layout and the uses of the building,” he said. “It’s not just my office staff that’s going to be using the building. We have officers coming in, we have victims coming in.

“We don’t have a conference room that is child-friendly and when you bring in a young child to talk to them about abuse or if it’s about some kind of victimization, and you bring them into a sterile office environment, it’s a little overwhelming.”

He said he spoke with his victim advocates and their suggestions helped plan to accommodate those needs.

“This all came out of a space study that the commissioners did,” he said. “(Architects) went around to a number of county agencies to not only look at our current needs, but also to project those needs and do a 15-year look into the future.”

Phillips said in addition to the public accommodations, the office would expand to accommodate the staff and their workspace. Offices will be more open than in the current building and they will be centrally located, he said.

Although there will be many benefits to moving into the new space, Phillips said there are still some challenges that have yet to be solved.

“One thing that we’re really struggling with and this isn’t really a building issue, it’s a process issue, is the amount of digital evidence we’re getting right now,” he said. “A lot of agencies right now have body cams so we have body cam video, we have cruiser video, we have interviews.”

He said the process can be difficult because law enforcement agencies around the county have different systems for recording and processing digital data.

He added the office is continuing to work on ways to make that process more efficient.

Right now, there are no plans for what will replace his office on the third floor of the Justice Center, but Phillips said eventually the county will bring in a third judge.

“We have talked about that for a while and when those plans take shape, it’s likely that will have an effect on the plans for the building,” he said.

The building project, which broke ground in June, has a 300-day construction schedule, which puts its completion day at the beginning of April of 2020.



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