Wilbraham PD looking forward to new headquarters - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Wilbraham PD looking forward to new headquarters

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WILBRAHAM, MA (WSHM) -

The building that sits at 16 Main St. in Wilbraham has been there since 1904.

In the past, it has housed a school, the town hall and currently the police department.

But now from its disintegrating red brick foundation to its tight quarters, Chief Roger Tucker said he and his team have outgrown the space.

"What police stations are in the 21st Century, this is just not it," Tucker said.

With the station's processing areas just feet away from administrative offices and the public lobby, Tucker said that can create some security issues.

"Operational and prison areas should be segregated and limited access," Tucker said.  

He said the building also lacks evidence supply areas.

The department resorts to a bank vault that dates back to the old town hall era to hold evidence.

"It doesn't sufficiently hold our evidence. We have wood sheds that have non-critical evidence in the back. There's no storage for bicycles that are recovered. They're usually sitting in the back," Tucker explained.

"There's no place to put a vehicle that needs to be secured or analyzed for one reason or another," he continued.

There are also no carports available for officers' cruisers, which can be a hassle in the wintertime if there is an emergency during a snowstorm.

Tucker says these inconveniences are hindering the department's ability to do its job.

"It's just time to do something new," Tucker said.  

And that something new is one step closer to a reality.

On Monday afternoon the new department's feasibility committee met to search for an architect for a new police station.

"We're looking for specific experience in police station activity and construction primarily in Massachusetts that makes all the codes and laws manageable," chairman Roger Fontaine said.

The committee has narrowed the search process down to 11 possible architects.

They hope to drop that number down to two or three with their selection happening in the next couple of weeks.

Fontaine said they will then bring their pick to the select board to move forward with the project. 

A site location for the future two-story, 15,000-square-foot headquarters hasn't yet to be proposed, but officials said they would like it to be built along Boston Road where most policing activity takes place.

"We've got three sites that we're going to review and we'll have the architect review to see what works best. Then we'd have to go off to see what works best on one of those sites," Fontaine said.

However, there isn't any town-owned property available in that area so land would have to be purchased to build the station.

The price tag on the new building is expected to reach $6 million or $7 million, which includes the land needed to be purchased.  

Fontaine said he's aiming to have the plans for the new facility made up in time for the annual town meeting in May.

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