The City of Lacey recently announced plans to construct a $43 million police station and training facility in a forest next to Lacey City Hall and the Lacey Library. They believe that they will construct this quickly, with public support and without incident. They are wrong. This article outlines the broad strokes of the project, the anticipated timeline, the primary actors, the beneficiaries, and some initial thoughts towards a strategy of resistance. The City of Lacey, along with the Lacey Police Department, and the various contractors standing to make a profit on expanding the racist and murderous policing system, will quickly discover that construction will not be smooth or fast. They will discover what the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Police Foundation have been learning for the past three years: the spirit of 2020 is alive, and everyone still hates the police. They should learn from the political suicide of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, the near bankruptcy of the Atlanta Police Foundation, the millions of dollars of sabotage, vandalism, and arson that have dogged the contractors of Cop City in Atlanta, and the ongoing public humiliation of supporting an unpopular, unviable, and doomed project. People who believe in joyful and free lives, who want to live in peace and repair the earth, will do what is necessary to stop the expansion of a racist, militarized police force.
*Why a new police station in Lacey?*
Three and a half years after the largest uprising in American history demanded the abolition of the police, and as police killings continue to break records, cities across the country are investing record amounts of money in militarized police infrastructure and recruitment. The new Lacey Police Station is intended to serve 110 police officers, nearly double the current numbers of 63 officers. The Lacey City Council and Lacey Police are doubling down on policing and police power for the 21st century. Situating the police station immediately next to the library will increase surveillance and carceral encounters at a community resource that is critical for exactly the populations criminalized and brutalized by police. They claim that the Lacey Police will partner with NGOs, and that “spaces for mental health and homeless outreach professionals in a space with police officers is paramount.” [https://cityoflacey.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2022/09/New-PD-Station-Executive-summary.pdf] We know that over 20% of people murdered by police in this country are experiencing a mental health crisis, and that calling 911 for assistance in a crisis is a good way to get shot. They also claim that the police station will be a “civic beacon,” and will include an area where community members can gather for meetings and events. It is clear from this description who counts as a community member and who does not. No one but capitalists, small business owners, and reactionaries wants to go to community meetings at a police station.
Police and local governments likely believe that proposing a new police station in Lacey is a strategic move. Olympia, immediately next door, has a reputation for miltancy, activism, and civic engagement; any new police station proposal would be met with intense scrutiny, engaged citizens, disruptive protests, and sabotage. Lacey is a decidedly more suburban city, with a larger percentage of active military personnel and military families stationed at nearby Joint Base Lewis-McChord. It has a higher median income, a reputation for conservative and reactionary politics, and a hostile territory of newly built suburban developments, large shopping centers, and highways. They believe that they can build a new police station in friendly territory with the support of the local population and no scrutiny or oversight, but simultaneously benefit from increased police forces to respond to unrest in Olympia when necessary. They believe that they can push the entire project through with very little media attention. They are mistaken on both counts. The groundbreaking ceremony was disrupted by rowdy opposition; an opposition that will only continue to grow.
*How to Stop the Construction of the New Lacey Police Station*
Groundbreaking has begun on the Lacey Police Station, and time is short. Having missed the early warning signs and opportunities for intervention in the planning phase, opponents will need to operate quickly and on multiple fronts. Every action is necessary, and every action opens up new possibilities. The Lacey Police Station is not a done deal; it is still nothing more than an idea in the heads of people with power, money, and machinery. Every step of the construction phase is vulnerable to delay. Every delay opens an opportunity for opposition to grow; every mention of opposition to the project serves as a nucleus for people who are opposed but inactive to gather around. The memory of the 2020 uprising lives in the hearts and bodies of more people than we can know. Small acts of bravery inspire others. Further, opposition to the Lacey Police Station benefits from the courageous struggle against Cop City in Atlanta. The tools are available, the strategic and tactical lessons are ample, and media discourse in both radical milieus and the mainstream media is primed for any opposition to new police infrastructure across the country. Some initial possibilities for action follow:
*Public and vocal opposition to the project is vital to generate broad consensus against investing further in the racist police state. Any and all opportunities should be taken to increase the social cost of the project, to generalize opposition, and to delegitimize the police. This includes public meetings, media coverage, flier and poster campaigns, door-knocking, memes, and the creation and exploitation of public scandals involving any parties invested in the new Lacey Police Station. This is all necessary but insufficient.
*The groundbreaking ceremony took place on February 5, and site clearing and earthworks could commence immediately. Early interruptions to site clearing and earthworks will help to knock the project off schedule, and open up future opportunities for intervention. Interrupting and delaying clearing and construction is necessary but insufficient. Long-term contestation or occupation at the site of construction, sandwiched between I-5 and Lacey City Hall, is a challenging prospect. Any and all tools should be used to stall construction at the site, but we should recall that the police can deliver overwhelming force at any one place with enough time.
*Contractors are spatially dispersed, financially vulnerable, and politically uninvested in the project. Construction will be completed by a number of subcontracting businesses, with varying degrees of investment in the project. All contractors and subcontractors should be pressured to separate themselves from the project, but we should anticipate that those with the most to lose will be the last to let go. Contractors with small bids might easily be persuaded that the social and financial cost of building an unpopular police station outweighs the small profits they stand to make. If they are educated about the damages suffered by Cop City contractors in Atlanta, they might decide quickly. Any and all means should be used to dissuade contractors from continuing to invest in the police state. Individuals can be convinced; moral suasion from neighbors, co-workers, congregation members, and social networks can help. Contractors should be well educated about the problems with policing, and if they choose not to make an ethical decision, they should be educated about the external costs that they didn’t budget for when taking the contract. Businesses have storefronts, warehouses, parking lots, telephones, fax machines, vehicles, and many more physical and therefore vulnerable assets. Businesses are also composed of individuals with names, faces, addresses, vehicles, and social networks. All of these elements are subject to pressure and force. The end of this article contains a brief summary of the current contractors working on the project.
**Initiative & Tempo**
It is critical to maintain the initiative and to decide the tempo of resistance to this project. Ground clearing could begin any day; the construction timeline from the Lacey PD states that construction will begin in April 2024, and be completed by September 2025. Despite their well-laid plans, time is on our side. Our adversaries have a clearly charted-out construction timeline, with each step in the project contingent on the completion of the prior phase. Every delay is a victory. Each victory is a chance to attract allies and build support. Every small bit of friction applied to the project will increase resistance, delays, and cost. As friction builds and resistance appears possible, dedicated opponents can build momentum and attract support. We can act at the time and place of our choosing; our adversaries must be constantly vigilant, expending time, money, and energy to protect their flanks.
With these considerations in mind, here is an initial list of contractors and interested parties. All of them are viable targets for pressure. Small groups of dedicated individuals can have large impacts.
**CONTRACTORS & INVESTED PARTIES**
*St. Martin’s College*
The land being used for the new police station was previously owned by St. Martin’s College. St. Martin’s College is profiting over the destruction of trees and the doubling of a militarized, racist police force. Students at St. Martin’s College should consider what they think about their university’s role in expanding police infrastructure.
Forma Construction is the primary contractor awarded the $43 million bid to oversee construcution of the new Lacey Police Station. Forma Construction is based in Olympia, with offices in Seattle, and projects around the Northwest. Like many other construction companies, Forma has a slick website that celebrates their environmental certifications. They have won local credibility by building the unfortunately named but locally popular “Hands On Children Museum” in Olympia, in addition to renovations and new construction at St. Martin’s College, The Evergreen State College, and many other schools. They have apparently decided to diversify their investment in repressive institutions by building a police station. They will soon learn that investing in the police comes with additional costs.
Forma Construction’s main office is located in downtown Olympia, at 500 Columbia St NW, Suite 201. They have an additional office in Seattle, at 1016 1st Ave South, Suite 400. Their entire leadership and staff are conveniently listed on their website here: https://formacc.com/team/
Their primary phone number is 360-754-5788.
Forma Construction is insured by Alaska National Insurance.
Forma Construction should be made aware that investing in the police is not good business.
*Active Construction, Inc*
ACI won a bid for $2.8 million, presumably for site prep and earthworks. They already discovered that this project will be more complex than they expected when one of their excavators lost a window during the groundbreaking ceremony. It will not be the last earth-destroying machine that is damaged. Their contract date for the bid begins on February 12, suggesting that initial excavation and earthworks might be imminent.
ACI is located in Tacoma, at 5110 River Rd E.
Their personnel directory and contract information are also conveniently located on their website here: https://www.activeconstruction.com/contact
*Groff’s Electric Heat*
Groff’s Electric Heat won a bid for electrical work for $6.6 million, making them the largest subcontractor after Forma Construction. Groff’s Electric Heat is owned by Harold Stocker and Michael Glasman, and located at 3308 S Union Ave, Tacoma.
Their phone number is 253-383-3511
*Eagle Harbor Associates*
Eagle Harbor Associates won a $4.2 million bid for plumbing. They are located at 1420 Marvin Rd. NE, Ste. C-147
LACEY, WA, 98516,
Their phone number is 360-779-8201.
*Summit Fence Co*
Summit Fence Co won a $504,970 bid for fencing. They are owned by Donald Gene Lindstrom, and their registered address is PO BOX 5560 , OLYMPIA, WA 98509
Their phone number is 360-455-1250
*Emerald Fire, Inc*
Emerald Fire, Inc won a $392,777 contract for fire protection and sprinklers. Their office is located at 11505 Burnham Dr STE 201, Gig Harbor.
Their phone number is 253-857-2056
*Unearth, LLC *
Unearth won a $136,500 bid as a subcontractor for Groff’s Electric Heat, for “power equipment operators.”
Unearth LLC is located at 18210 32nd Ave Ct E, Tacoma, WA, and the owner, Robert Bartley, can be reached at 253-921-6750
*MK Fall Protection*
MK Fall Protection won a $86,589 contract for fall protection. They are located in Lake Stevens, WA
Sound Electronics won a $72,000 bid as a subcontractor for Groff’s Electric Heat. Their office is located at 3409 S 37TH ST, Tacoma.
Their phone number is 253-472-2955
Powercom won a $55,979 bid as a subcontractor with Groff’s Electric Heat. They install wired and wireless networks. Their office is located at 22122 20th Ave SE, Suite 152 Bothell, WA 98021
Their phone number is 425-489-8549