By Lt. Col. Phillip Taylor, Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion, 354th Regiment
NORMAN, Okla. – On April 18, 2014, the former Joe Smalley Army Reserve Center, 1507 West Lindsey Street, Norman, Okla., was officially opened as the City of Norman Investigations Center (NIC). The opening is the culmination of a five-year process which began in 2009, when the Army Reserve moved out of the Smalley Center and into the Norman Armed Forces Reserve Center on Thunderbird Drive.
The facility was made available through a competitive process and several different organizations submitted proposals for acquiring the property. Ultimately, the City of Norman was chosen to convert the building for public safety use. The NIC will be used primarily as office space for the Norman Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division, which includes the Crime Lab and Property Custody. Additionally, the NIC will provide office space for Arson Investigators from the Norman Fire Department, as well as provide space for the Patrol Bureau of the Norman Police Department.
The City of Norman gained possession of the property in 2011. The renovations have taken nearly three years to complete at a cost of over $2.6 million dollars. “It has certainly been worth the wait,” said Norman Police Investigations Captain Todd Gibson. “We have a state of the art facility which will accommodate the growth of the city and the department,” said Gibson.
Norman Police Chief Keith Humphrey said, “This facility was once a part of the defense of our great nation, it is only fitting that it continues on as a vital resource to protect this great community.”
The City of Norman hosted an open house at the NIC on April 18. The Norman Police Department (NPD) invited Lt. Col. Phillip Taylor, a detective at the NPD that will work in the new facility, and Command Sgt. Maj. Bryant Potts, 3d Battalion, 378th Regiment command sergeant major, to represent the Army Reserve as the former tenants of the building.
Taylor said, “I am honored to be here to represent the Army Reserve and I am excited for the opportunity to get to continue working in this building. My new office I will work in as a detective was my old office when I was the Battalion S3 at 3/378.”
Potts said, “I was a Drill Sergeant here back in 2001-2002. The renovations to the building are fantastic!”
The Joe Smalley Army Reserve Center was named for a local World War II veteran who rose to the rank of colonel. He was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and served in the state legislature. The City of Norman will maintain a display case in the lobby of the NIC to pay tribute to the history of the building.