|By Chris Maza|
HAMPDEN – The study into the feasibility of constructing a new police station has been completed.
Police Chief Jeffrey Farnsworth told Reminder Publications that he hoped to soon be able to reveal the findings of the survey to the town.
“At this point we’re just kind of waiting for the selectmen,” he said. “We’ve pretty much finished everything and now we’re hoping sometime in September we’ll be able to get back into one of their meetings and give them a presentation about what’s been accomplished and where they want to go from there.”
Town residents approved the spending of $15,000 for the study at a Special Town Meeting on Oct. 22, 2012.
The study was designed to determine what kind of facility would be needed in the present while ensuring that the proposed building would be laid out and equipped to conform to the department’s changing needs.
Currently the Police Department, which consists of 28 employees – the chief and his administrative assistant, nine full-time officers, four full-time and two part-time dispatchers and 11 reserve officers – operates out of an 800-square-foot space in the basement of Town Hall underneath the Hampden Free Public Library, the same place it has been located for more than 50 years.
Farnsworth previously said the space was too small when he became chief of the department more than 20 years ago and it has only gotten worse. The station’s limitations include a lack of adequate space for storage or computer equipment.
In the station’s current configuration, the department’s computer servers and records share are located in a bathroom.
The station also lacks private interview rooms.
In addition to a lack of space, the Police Department facilities are not compliant with current Americans with Disabilities Act regulations as residents in wheelchairs would not be able to access the station.
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