On Thursday, April 29, 2021, Brentwood Mayor Rhea Little and members of the City Commission along with City Manager Kirk Bednar and other past and present leaders of the Brentwood Police Department will cut the ribbon to celebrate the opening of the new Brentwood Police Department Headquarters building located at 910 Heritage Way.
The new facility will allow the Brentwood Police Department to exist in its own dedicated and secured facility located more centrally to all of Brentwood. The building will accommodate all police divisions under one roof including, patrol administration, criminal investigations, training and the city’s dispatch center for fire and police. Citizens will be able to easily access police records and a community room, which doubles as a municipal courtroom, from the public lobby facing Heritage Way.
Following the presentation of colors by the Brentwood Police Honor Guard and the national anthem performed by Stephanie Owens, City Manager Kirk Bednar welcomed the crowd and said “it is a gratifying day to see this building come out of the ground and to see what it’s become. It is a beautiful building and one that our staff and Brentwood residents needed.” City of Brentwood Mayor Rhea Little echoed those comments, saying “this new building has been planned and worked on for quite some time. This new facility is right in the heart of Brentwood and central to many residents. This is a day of celebration for the entire community.” Mayor Little ended by saying, “this is a celebration for every Brentwood citizen whose taxes have helped make this building possible and who have a firm belief in the importance of safety.”
“This building belongs to the citizens of Brentwood,” Chief of Police Jeff Hughes said. “Law enforcement exists to serve its citizens. Our success depends on citizen and business relationships and this facility will foster an environment that will continue to build and strengthen those relationships,” Chief Hughes added. This building will also help expand current programs like the Citizens Police Academy and the neighborhood watch program. “We strive to be open and transparent in our delivery of services and we welcome citizens to stop in and talk with us anytime,” said Chief Hughes. The Brentwood Police Department places a high emphasis on training and physical fitness. This facility includes a training and defensive tactics classroom, a soundproof virtual simulation training room to practice de-escalation tactics and an indoor firearms range will facilitate better training more frequently for all officers. Chief Hughes also thanked community supporter and resident Bill Akin who donated $50,000 to the construction of this project. “Mr. Akin’s generous donation was used to purchase fitness equipment. A plaque with Akin’s name hangs at the entrance of the Fitness Room named in his honor,” said Chief Hughes. Akin has committed to donate and additional $50,000 to Brentwood Police Department at the time of his passing.
At the back of the building and near the employee entrance stands a memorial wall to honor those like fallen Officer Destin Legieza, who was killed while on duty by a drunk driver in June 2020. Other names of department retirees who have served more than twenty years are also chiseled onto the monument. A bronze lion sculpture sits on granite base that overlooks the memorial wall to symbolize the protective role of law enforcement officers and convey the strength, courage and valor that are hallmarks of those who serve and protect. In less than two weeks, the community raised the $45,000 for the statue, through private donations and a large donation from Kimbro Oil and Tri-Star Energy. Former Chief of Police Ricky Watson, who served with the Brentwood Police Department for 25 years, said “I am beaming with pride, appreciation and gratitude for the City to get all this done.” Watson especially thanked Chief Hughes in particular, for “remembering our history and by honoring those who served before.”
VIDEO: History of the building of the Brentwood Police Department Headquarters
The Brentwood Police Department headquarters project, at $29 million, is the largest single capital project in the city’s history. Bednar said, “the idea of a police headquarters has been discussed for years. In the last five years we have honestly seen a change in society in relation to the police department and law enforcement and how they are viewed and we recognized that the flaws we had at City Hall were even greater when it came to security, access and it really drove us to the point that we had to do something.” The property where the headquarters is located was acquired by the City in the late 1990s as part of the development of the adjacent Heritage senior living facility. The Brentwood Police Department moved into the current City Hall location in 1987 and over the years quickly outgrew the space.
Williamson County also donated $1.2 million toward the building. An ambulance and its team for the county will be stationed at an ancillary structure on site. Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson said, “Public Safety is one of the most important aspects of a community. Facilities such as this provide law enforcement and public safety personnel the opportunity to train with state-of-the art equipment to be the most prepared and respond to our community when they are most needed.” State Senator Jack Johnson presented Senate Joint Resolution 102, signed by Governor Bill Lee in March, to honor the Brentwood Police Department on its fiftieth anniversary. The resolution’s House co-sponsors include Representatives Glen Casada and Sam Whitson. Senator Johnson read the resolution which stated in part, “we honor and commend the Brentwood Police Department, applauding its service to the community since its founding and extending our gratitude for the department’s continued stalwart service to the law and the people.”
At the conclusion of all speeches from the podium, Mayor Rhea Little, Brentwood City Commissioners, Bednar, Chief Hughes, former Chief Watson, Assistant Chief of Police Richard Hickey, and former Assistant Police Chief Tommy Walsh all moved to the ceremonial ribbon. Following a countdown by the small crowd in attendance, everyone officially opened the new facility.
About the Contractors
Brentwood based, The Parent Company, is the contractor responsible for the building’s construction. Bednar said, “We have been so pleased with how our project manager Joel Carden and his team took this building from paper to reality and completed the project under budget.
The Architect Workshop provided both space programming and architectural design for the Brentwood Police Department. Under the leadership of Architect James Kennon, the overall goals were determined, and a series of multi-day workshops were held with police, city commissioners, and City Manager Kirk Bednar to identify the space and programmatic needs of the new building. Bednar said, “At each step, James Kennon, Cary Sweat, and the entire design team were always focused on the unique purpose of this building. We appreciate their attention to the detail of the building organization and its specific program development.”
Building Design Highlights:
February 1, 2021 marked 50 years since the Brentwood Police Department was created. Chief Howard Buttrey was hired to oversee the department development and for the first two months, he was the only employee. Buttrey obtained a $40,000 grant from the federal government and on April 1, 1971, Buttrey hired three officers and the Brentwood Police Department began full time patrol of the city within one officer assigned to each of the day’s three shifts. Fifty years later, there are 67 sworn officers, including one K9 patrol team, twelve 911 dispatchers and six administrative personnel, a mobile crime scene investigation unit and a new headquarters building.
VIDEO: 2009 interview with former Brentwood Police Chiefs
Chief Hughes has served with the department for 35 of the 50 years. He credits his predecessors for building a strong foundation for what it has become today. “Under Buttrey’s leadership, the department became internationally accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. in 1989 and remains the most tenured agency in the state of Tennessee to be accredited,” Chief Hughes said. After 29 years of service, Buttrey retired in 2000 and was succeeded by Chief Ricky Watson who continued to progress the department focusing on technology and training. Watson retired in 2012 and Chief Hughes became only the third chief in the department’s history.