Lewiston police officials Tuesday outlined a proposal to use the vacant city-owned building at 85 Park St. to house members of several joint law enforcement agencies on drugs and violent crime. (Sun Journal photo)

LEWISTON — Lewiston police officials Tuesday outlined a proposal to use the vacant city-owned building at 85 Park St. to house members of several joint law enforcement agencies on drugs and violent crime.

The former Violations Bureau building vacated by the state roughly six months ago would be converted into offices for law enforcement personnel.

Lewiston Police Chief Brian O’Malley said Tuesday having all of the task forces in the same building would allow them to work “collaboratively and focus on crime occurring here in Lewiston.”

The Lewiston police station does not have the space, he said, and task force members are housed in offices at the Lewiston Armory and the Public Works facility on River Road.

The personnel would include members of a Maine Drug Enforcement Agency task force and an FBI violent gang task force “designed to eliminate threats and violence by working collaboratively with local law enforcement.”

The council was receptive to the proposal, even with some costs to transition the building to law enforcement use. In a memo to the council, O’Malley said the building could be used for police at a “net budget increase of $63,253.”

Council President Kristen Cloutier said that with the space issues, “it feels like we’ve just been throwing (joint agencies) wherever there’s space.” She said she’s been hearing a lot of concern over gun violence and drugs downtown, and believes this “can allow us to focus on those.”

O’Malley said with council approval, the new office would be funded for the coming fiscal year, starting July 1.