Updated with comments from the Foundation's board president.
St. Louis police chief Dan Isom got an unexpected present today at the annual luncheon of the St. Louis Police Foundation - a $3 million check.
When it's combined with department resources, the donation makes it possible to turn the old Wells-Fargo building at 1915 Olive Street into a new headquarters. The department's current facility, and 1200 Clark Ave., is almost 85 years old and needs about $70 million in repairs.
The department purchased the building in January for $2.7 million in asset forfeiture money, but would have had to raise the money for renovations on its own.
"We looked at it and said hey, this is only going to happen one time, they don't have the money to do it right, and that's why we jumped in," said Doug Albrecht, the chair of the Bodley Group and the president of the Police Foundation board. "Wherever we go downtown, the city of St. Louis police department, we're on their watch and we take care of us. The city itself is such a great asset to our region, and there's not many times that you can actually look at something and say hey, here's where we can make a long-lasting difference."
In addition to the check today, the Foundation has launched a drive to outfit the new headquarters with furniture. Broadcaster Joe Buck has already pledged to contribute 15, 27-inch televisions.
Today's $3 million grant is more than the total amount the Foundation has donated to the department over the last four years. The Ruth D. and Wylie Todd Foundation contributed the initial $250,000, and the Albrecht Family Foundation provided $750,000. An anonymous donor contributed the final $2 million. Doug Albrecht would only say that the donor is a well-known St. Louisan whose name will hopefully be revealed before the move is finished.
The renovations and the move are expected to take about 12 to 18 months.