The Public Safety Complex Building Committee was chartered by the Board of Selectmen in 2001. Through 2005, the committee continued to work with HKT Architects on a plan for future renovation and expansion of the facility. Current members include Police Chief Steve Savage, Fire Chief John McArdle, Selectman John Sherman, Emergency Management Director Bill Scully, Building Inspector Mike Dorman, Budget Committee member Ron Hayes, Town Manager John Scruton and public member Fran Berube. The Committee expects to develop a plan to satisfy the needs of the Police and Fire Departments for 20 years, similar to what was done 20 years ago with the current facility.
The needs analysis makes it obvious that the current facility is already inadequate for the current size and function of the Police Department. The staff has grown in total numbers, making space for offices inadequate. The addition of functions such as the regional prosecutor, support staff, victim witness advocate and detectives were not planned when the facility was constructed. The Town now has several female officers, but inadequate facilities for them. The State now requires physical fitness and agility standards for police officers, but there is a lack of facilities to accommodate this requirement within the current facility. The Federal government requires separation of juveniles and adults in temporary holding situations.
The Fire Department has less pressing immediate needs, but there are specific shortcomings in storage, offices and physical training facilities. Looking ahead 20 years the committee believes the building needs to be designed to enable the Fire/Rescue Department to handle greater responsibility for medical emergencies.
A basic proposal was developed in conjunction with HKT Architects. Most of the year, 2005, was spent seeking to find ways to manage the total cost by revising the plan and reviewing various phasing options. No funds are being requested at this time, but it is expected the work renovating and expanding the building should begin starting within the next two to four years.