A former illegal game room, which was raided by Galveston County sheriff deputies years ago, will soon reopen its doors in Bacliff. However, this time the revamped building will not harbor gambling.
Within a few weeks, the former Lucky U game room, 823 Grand Ave., will complete its transformation into a law enforcement substation, the first in a growing unincorporated area with a high number of calls for the sheriff’s office. Primarily, the sheriff’s office and deputy constables will use the facility.
Opening the station is part of an effort to bring more law enforcement to an area with a history of criminal concerns, County Commissioner Ryan Dennard said.
“We’ll be able to create a physical presence, where patrol units don’t have to leave the area to file reports,” Dennard said. “This has been a high priority for the county.”
In April 2011, sheriff’s deputies raided the game room, seizing more than $100,000 in cash and 105 gambling machines, known as 8-liners, used for illegal gambling. The owners were convicted of engaging in organized criminal activity, and the building was turned over to the sheriff’s department as proceeds of criminal activity.
In September, the commissioners court approved a $313,498 contract with DSW Homes to remodel the building. The 3,000-square-foot space will include an interview room, offices, computer stations and a small lobby.
“It’s going from gambling to law enforcement,” Sheriff Henry Trochesset said. “Convenience wise, it’s going to help out, no doubt.”
Although the sheriff’s office will not staff the building, the Precinct 1 Constable’s Office will use it during daytime hours, Trochesset said. The constable’s office shares space with the Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Court, which is a few blocks from the new substation.
“We’re in a shoe box,” Constable Rick Sharp said. “My chief (deputy) literally works out of a storage closet we had to turn into an office to squeeze in more people.”
Previously, sheriff’s deputies would either use area fire stations or police departments in Kemah or Dickinson to do complete reports and interviews after crimes, Trochesset said. The other option was driving to Galveston, the site of the countywide agency’s headquarters, he said.
Residents in the area were excited about the first law enforcement complex in the area, where various agencies will be coming and leaving from the building, Sharp said.
“These people have been neglected for years without a law enforcement building in the area,” Sharp said.