Salt Lake police and fire departments packed up their pistols, paperclips and pumper trucks and began moving their offices under one downtown roof Friday.

The public safety departments are consolidating commands at the old Northwest Energy building, 315 E. Second South, a move Mayor Palmer DePaulis touts as saving taxpayers up to $700,000 yearly.For years the police department has maintained separate east and west divisions as well as its administrative offices in the Metropolitan Hall of Justice, 450 S. Third East. Fire department administrative offices have been at Station No. 1, 159 E. First South.

Savings from joining the departments will pay for the $6 million costs of purchasing and renovating the 34-year-old, nine-story building, DePaulis said.

Consolidating the two departments will enable the city to save money by, among other things, joining dispatch services and by eliminating some police supervisory positions at the sergeant level, DePaulis said.

Sounding the charge in opposition to three tax-cut initiatives that will appear on November's ballot, DePaulis said the move reflects the cost-cutting efforts the city has undertaken to trim budgets.

"This is a perfect issue to show what we've been doing all along," he said.

The city agreed to purchase the building in 1987 for $3 million and to spend another $3 million to remove asbestos, remodel and seismically upgrade the facility, said project manager Gaylord Smith.

"It's been a whale of a job done in whale of a short time," Smith said, noting the project is on schedule and within budget.

The building has been cleaned of asbestos and inspected by a licensed agency for any further asbestos danger, Smith said.

Crews also have reinforced the building's steel frame in order to protect it in the event of an earthquake, Smith said.

Traffic and patrol divisions from the police department's east and west divisions were the first groups to begin moving into the building on Friday, said police Maj. O.J. Peck.

Officers will continue to be dispatched from the communications center at the current police station, until the dispatch center is moved between Oct. 17 and Oct. 27, he said.

By Oct. 27, police and fire administration as well as the police department's record office, telephone officers, special investigations division, crime lab, detective division, printing office and staff services division will be moved, Peck said.