Jefferson County Sheriff Gerald Robinson laid out plans for a new headquarters building for his agency during a meeting of the Pine Bluff Rotary Club on Tuesday afternoon.

Jefferson County Sheriff Gerald Robinson laid out plans for a new headquarters building for his agency during a meeting of the Pine Bluff Rotary Club on Tuesday afternoon.

Robinson said the new building will provide 23,000 square feet of operational space for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and be connected to the adult jail and adjacent to the District Court building.

“The public will be able to come to one centralized location with the new facility,” Robinson said. “I would like for this building to be called the John Lloyd ‘Pete’ Harrison Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. He brought me into law enforcement.

“The new building will be attached to the jail on the Convention Center side and will be linked to the District Court,” Robinson said. “We have invested in 21st century technology and this building will reflect that. We will have a virtual firing range that will allow us to save money on bullets and other things that cost a lot of money. Crime is not the same as it used to be. We have Internet crime and we have to be able to keep up with the criminals.”

Robinson said one of the cutting-edge tools used by the sheriff’s office is what he called the ‘thug finder,’ which he said allows law enforcement to track people at night using their heat signature.

“Dub Brassell wanted to have a new building and Bo Fontaine also wanted to do this,” Robinson said. “Our current buildings are between 80 and 100 years old and are health hazards with mold in them. This new facility will allow all of our employees to be housed in the same location. It will be a two-level building.”

Robinson said that the completion of the new headquarters building will allow for a more streamlined relationship among the main office, the jail and the court building.

“The total project cost is estimated to be $3.2 million but hopefully we can bring that price down some,” Robinson said. “The new building will have space for future growth. Just as Dub Brassell is a beautiful building this new facility will also be beautiful.”

Robinson said preliminary work has begun on the first phase of the new building.

“It should take 10 to 12 months to complete the first phase,” Robinson said. “I asked for $2.5 million first and said that we will do the rest. That could come from private donations and from drug forfeitures. We have one forfeiture now that should give us $230,000.”

Robinson said the jail provides Jefferson County with $1.5 million in income per year.

“I am looking at ways to increase that income to $2 million per year,” Robinson said. “Since I assumed office as sheriff in January of 2007 I have kept every campaign promise that I made. This includes getting deadbeat dads and moms to pay child support and getting drug dealers off the streets. After I became sheriff the juvenile facility was brought back under the umbrella of the sheriff’s department. The department has 204 employees and we created 40 new jobs in Jefferson County under our umbrella.

“We have worked very hard to become the premier agency in Jefferson County,” Robinson said. “We have put the best equipment in the hands of our employees to do their jobs.”