History of West Des Moines Police Department

Police Building

The West Des Moines Police has seen many changes over the last 100 years. In 1893, citizens in this area celebrated the incorporation of a railroad town by the name of Valley Junction. In 1938 they renamed the community West Des Moines which has since grown to become the ninth largest citiy in Iowa. What began as a town of 300 residents being protected by a town marshal is now a city of approximately 60,000 residents being protected by a multi-divisional police force.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Police Department shared the second floor of a small two story building with other city departments in Valley Junction.  In 1953, City government moved all operations to a newer, larger facility two blocks away. This facility provided the Police Department with five rooms and a jail.

Police StatueIn 1972, the Police and Fire Departments, through a joint effort, moved into the West Des Moines Public Safety Center located at Valley West Drive and Ashworth Road. The 15-officer department had over 7,000 square feet to utilize, but demand for increased protection and rapid growth in the community soon surpassed the space available. Departmental growth and expansion of the Emergency Medical Service Department soon created severe overcrowding.

After the completion of a public safety study in October of 1988, a need was once again shown for a new police facility to allow for personnel growth to the year 2010. Two years of planning and design by architects coupled with the expertise of law enforcement executives led to construction of the current facility on Mills Civic Pkwy, beginning in November 1990 and finishing in the spring of 1992.

The current facility is on 6 ½ acres of city owned land. The Law Enforcement Center was the first building constructed in City/School Campus area. The Law Enforcement Center was built with security and police operations in mind. The two-level facility allows public access to the upper level of the station. Upon entering the facility, the public has a secure access to a police department employee during regular hours.  After hours, weekends and holidays the public can pick up a direct line phone located outside the front door and speak with Westcom Communications Center and request help. The upper level of the facility now houses the Chief's offices, Criminal Investigation, Support Services Division, Code Enforcement, Animal Control, Probation and Parole offices and two conference rooms. The lower level houses Uniform Patrol, Property and Evidence.