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Tooele City Police Department severely damaged during 5.7 earthquake

Posted at 10:28 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 00:28:57-04

TOOELE, Utah — Tooele City Police Department’s aging station is unusable after the 5.7 magnitude earthquake caused critical damage.

Since Wednesday morning, officers have been frantically moving things out of this building because large cracks appeared in the foundation and structurally important walls.

“All of a sudden, we hear a large rumbling noise and the building started shaking. It felt like it was swaying back and forth,” Det. Colbey Bentley said.

Other officers heard the sound of concrete breaking.

“Seeing the cracks all over the place, it was definitely a concern for us,” Det. Bentley said.

However, the police station on Main Street was in bad shape to start with.

Decades before it was the police department’s headquarters, it was an auto body shop.

“After we found the damage to our building, it became a much more dire situation and knew we had to get our stuff to the new police department,” Sgt. Jeremy Hansen said.

The city was close to finishing a brand new station that was set to open April 6. Now, the entire department moved in nearly three weeks early.

“We have no phones, no internet, we have no servers,” Sgt. Hansen said.

Investigation records, staff paperwork and evidence were rushed out of the old building in case of collapse.

Tooele City PD asks the public for patience for a couple of weeks as they complete the premature transition.

The department says they’re still able to respond to emergency calls. But administrative work, including fingerprinting and getting copies of police reports, will have to wait a couple of weeks.