Before next month’s town vote for the $7.4 m. project, the police chief is inviting the public to tour the old station. We took a tour ourselves.
Built in 1964, the building is in bad shape. The heating system is outdated. Asbestos floor tiles are coming up. And asbestos ceiling tiles are falling down. A shower and a toilet in the basement are unusable. With only a couple of thousand square feet, things are stored everywhere. The only addition is a temporary trailer that’s now 11 years old. The flooring in it is breaking apart.
But Palmer Police Chief Robert Frydryk doesn’t want a new station just for more room and better conditions. He said he also wants safer conditions for his officers and the public.
“The cell doors don’t always work like they’re supposed to,” he said. “So, we’ve had people get out of here in the past.”
Suspects are brought in through a door that’s also used by disabled people to get into the adjacent town hall . The only place to book suspects is in a hallway.
“Can’t use the hallway which means we can’t use the interview room, can’t use the bathroom, can use the basement which is right off of there,” said Frydryk.
While newer stations have dispatch centers tucked safely in the center of their buildings, this one is on the outside with windows.
“If there were to be a man-made or natural disaster, there’s very little protection. So potentially, our dispatch center could be shut down.”
This proposed new building would fix all of this and be built behind the old one. And whether a casino comes to town or not, the chief said the station would be big enough.
“Of those things happen, a casino and regional dispatch, it might fill up a little bit sooner,” said Frydryk. “but still, it’s big enough but not so big that we’re going to use it for just another generation. So, we won’t have to bother the tax payers probably for a generation or two, as far as the police building goes.”
The vote on the new station is June 12.