Design Elements that Support Modern Policing

Design Elements that Support Modern Policing

Nationally there are more than 800,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States. Over the past 30-40 years the communities that officers serve and protect have remained ever-changing. This constant evolution has led to facilities that are challenged to support current policing strategies, technologies and approaches. Lavallee Brensinger Architects is currently working with several Police Departments including Portsmouth, Lebanon, Exeter, Wolfeboro, Nashua, and Bedford. When planning a modern Police Facility, there are several important design parameters our team takes into consideration. Some are driven by CALEA certification guidelines; others are driven by IACP and other current law enforcement design standards.

Robert Robicsek, who serves as Lavallee Brensinger’s Civic Studio Leader, breaks down the five most important aspects to consider when designing a law enforcement building.

Exterior Spaces

  • When designing outdoor spaces for a police facility we strive to incorporate public soft and hard scape landscape areas with an inviting feel. These outdoor spaces may include memorial plazas, water features, sculptures, signage, and low profile landscape areas.
  • We design these spaces to be public friendly and add to the civic fabric of the community, including adequate site lighting and low profile landscape design, which allows for a clear line-of-sight for security purposes.

Public Spaces

  • Modern police facilities include indoor public spaces as an outreach to the community. Key public elements include a well-lit lobby, a community meeting room accessible directly from the lobby, public toilet rooms, and smaller interview rooms.
  • To facilitate serving the public, the PD records department is located directly off the lobby with clearly marked service windows. Our interior design team utilizes colors, textures, and lighting to create welcoming spaces. Acoustics also play a key role in the performance of these spaces.

Staff Areas

  • Law enforcement can be stressful. To assist PD staff with addressing everyday job stress prior to going home to their families and loved ones, we design staff areas for post-shift decompression. Included are break rooms with a kitchenette, physical and agility training sections, and secluded outdoor areas.


  • In today’s law enforcement environment security, both physical and electronic, is very important. When designing a modern police facility, Lavallee Brensinger addresses both. Physically, we separate public access areas from secure PD spaces in the station with clearly delineated building planning, provide multiple egress routes in case of an emergency, and select durable materials that will provide extra security to PD staff.
  • Electronically, we utilize CCTV, card key access systems, and motion sensors to secure and monitor all key areas of the station.


  • The receiving, processing, and storage of case evidence is a critical part of modern law enforcement and PD certifications. Our approach addresses the evidence chain of custody from the time the evidence is collected, delivered, received, catalogued, and stored. Key elements in the chain of custody include limited and monitored access to the evidence by PD staff, prosecutors, and defense attorneys.
  • We separate evidence into several categories including: large bulk items, valuables, fire arms, drugs, and long and short term items. In addition, we also design secure vehicle impound bays and evidence vehicle storage areas in-site monitored by CCTV.

About Robert Robicsek

Robert Robicsek, AIA, NCARB, Civic Studio Leader

603.622.5450 Extension 110 |
Bob is a senior-level professional with over 40 years of architectural design experience and more than 35 years of experience as a Project Team Leader and Principal-in-Charge for projects performed for regional and national Civic, Municipal, Governmental, and Institutional clients. Bob brings extensive experience with user needs analysis, programming, space planning, building evaluation analysis, and life safety code issues.