By Michael Watkins – Vice-President, Marketing – Rytec High Performance Doors
Police officers who patrol our streets to keep our cities safe are one of the tightest professional communities in the country—if not the world. It is a true brotherhood/sisterhood. They stick together and support one another in good times or bad, and they are always eager to share what they learn about the latest tools and effective techniques. They live for this job and want to be the best they can be.
In the case of the Saukville, Wisconsin police department, this sharing extends to facility design. Recently the city added Rytec high performance doors to their new police department building based on advice from other police departments. This tip is helping them get their squad cars out on the street faster while at the same time controlling costs.
Saukville, population 4,451, is just north of Milwaukee and is one of the fastest growing communities in the area. Prior to constructing the new facility, city planners knew that the police department had outgrown a poorly performing building, and the deficiencies became apparent to the police and local government officials.
This Works – Pass It On
Former Saukville police chief William Meloy, a 40-year veteran, and his officers did extensive research based on what they knew needed improvement in their facility and toured other departments in the area to find out what their colleagues were doing better. As current chief Jeffrey Goetz points out, “we learned a lot from these visits.”
In the early planning phase and after considering the benefits provided to other departments, Saukville officials readily identified Rytec® Spiral® high-speed roll-up doors as critical for enhancing efficiency in their new 19,500-square-foot facility.
Chief Meloy, who retired in 2013, was familiar with the challenges of conventional garage doors at the former police building. Saukville, like all communities, is watching costs and based on the tours and the advice of other police departments, Meloy recognized that the doors could enable the village to keep energy and maintenance expenses under control.
“Before the architect was even selected by the committee, before one line was on paper, we made it clear that we wanted the Rytec doors,” said Meloy. “The first thing that caught my attention was door speed. Once you see them, you get it. It is all about speed and efficiency.”
The Spiral Door Joins the Police Force
After an extensive evaluation process, the Saukville project committee selected Zimmerman Architectural Studios to design their new state-of-the-art police station. Zimmerman, a regional leader in the planning and design of law enforcement facilities, had substantial experience with these types of projects and an understanding of the long-term requirements.
“Budgeting for these doors is important," says Martin Van Hoof, senior associate and project manager at Zimmerman Architectural Studios. "It is always a matter of weighing the options. We are aware Rytec doors will perform over time. Speed, maintenance, and customer service are significant factors in the decision.”
According to Van Hoof, “Police chiefs are the best form of marketing [for Rytec]. They talk. They tour each other’s facilities and they share their opinions at conventions. Rytec is a recognized name with a solid reputation when it comes to high-performance, high-speed overhead doors."
Zimmerman has gone on to specify Rytec doors for the West Bend, Wisconsin, police department along with many others.
Doors As Responsive as the People Who Serve
This architecturally impressive $3.9 million police facility is located in the Municipal Center in the heart of Saukville. The 18-foot wide by 12-foot high Spiral doors installed at both ends of the facility enable the efficient flow of police traffic in and out of the station, helping the department respond faster in an emergency.
“No one has to wait for a door to open or close—ever. If you have a serious call from a resident, the door is open and the officer is gone in two seconds,” says Geotz, who was part of the research team for the new department building.
The doors' rapid 60-inches-per-second opening speed also improves the energy efficiency of the building, helping to maintain desirable temperatures throughout the year. “It simply makes sense," Chief Goetz observes. "Door speed helps contain [heating and cooling] energy. Less energy loss means lower energy costs in the summer and in the winter.”
According to Chief Goetz, who has spent his entire career with the Saukville department, “doors on the old building did a poor job of sealing up the doorways, and even though we can’t quantify the savings, we know that the doors are controlling energy loss.”
The Spiral Door Makes Seconds Count in Many Ways
Because it only takes a couple of seconds for the doors to let traffic in and out of the building, more of the facility’s heating and cooling energy is stays inside. Once the doors are closed, durable rubber seals on the door’s aluminum slats and on the connecting hinges protect against energy loss along the side and between the slats. These same gaskets mean there is no metal-to-metal contact between the slats, making the door extremely quiet.
Gaskets also seal gaps along the floor and the top of the door and the seals prevent drafts and debris from blowing in. Once the door is closed, the doorway is totally secured.
Door speed also reduces the chance of doors being hit by a passing vehicle, which reduces downtime and costly damage to the door—and to the vehicle hitting it. By the time a vehicle crosses the doorway threshold, the Spiral door has cleared the doorway.
Going the Distance
“Out of all the equipment we use that we have to pay attention to in terms of maintenance, the doors aren’t among them,” notes Chief Goetz.
Each door is operated by a variable high-speed AC drive system. The drive enables soft acceleration and deceleration to increase the life of the door’s operating components.
Because the doors are built for high-frequency applications, they require much less maintenance than conventional doors. To Chief Goetz, there is no contest. “We have a conventional door at our sally port. A simple demonstration comparing the conventional door with the Rytec door shows the differences. No waiting for the door and very little loss of energy.”
“In fact, now people are wondering why the sally door doesn’t open as fast.”
With their impressive opening speed of 60 inches per second, the doors capture attention when guests tour the police station. “People ask us about the doors all the time. Anybody who tours the building and sees the doors is wowed,” says Goetz.
“I’ve had a good experience with the doors. I have recommended the Rytec doors many times and will continue to recommend them.”
Seeing the Doors in Action
After thousands of open-and-close cycles, the Rytec doors continue to impress visitors and meet or exceed the Saukville police department’s requirements and expectations. So now it is Saukville’s turn to share information. “We have people from police departments in the process of building new facilities come through our building all the time,” relates Chief Goetz, “and they are always impressed by our doors.”
The modern police force takes advantage of all the tools it can employ to help make our towns and cities safer, even in places like Saukville. The rapid speed of the Rytec Spiral doors enables the Saukville police department to provide the rapid response that this community, and all communities, comes to expect from the people who wear the badge.