One of the bonded capital projects that Wilton voters will be considering at next week’s Annual Town Meeting and Vote is the first of two projects involving a proposed renovation of the Wilton Police Department. Town officials have begun to make the case for why the town needs to renovate and expand Police Headquarters.
This week, police officials will open up the police station to the public for two tours to show exactly what their needs are and why they say the issue is critical. Last week, Police Chief John Lynch and Capt. Robert Cipolla took GOOD Morning Wilton on a tour to show what’s going on. Scroll to the bottom of this article to watch our video tour.
A three person resident committee has been formed to work with Wilton’s facilities director Chris Burney to study the Town Campus and to develop a plan for the expected expansion and renovation of the police headquarters. The town previously commissioned a needs assessment study which put the cost of a new headquarters at $12,660,000. That amount has remained as a placeholder until a more refined cost can be determined. On the ballot next week: whether to bond up to $1,267,000, or 10% of the placeholder amount, to conduct and develop the necessary engineering and design studies and design plans to bring a proposal to the Annual Town Meeting in May of 2018.
The issue: the building was built in 1974 for a force of less than 30 males with no thought towards female officers. The department is currently comprised of 45 officers, both male and female. Since 1974, the number of dwellings in Wilton has increased by 36%; the number of registered voters (presumably 18+ population) has increased by 36%; the number of commercial buildings has increased 89%.
Most of the police station’s building infrastructure is original, making it inefficient, outdated and non compliant with current regulations.
- The building is over crowded
- Bathroom and locker room facilities for males have not been expanded. The facilities for women were constructed within existing space–including hallway space.
- There are no public restrooms
- Electrical systems do not meet the needs of a modern police force
- The HVAC systems are outdated and inefficient and require increasing maintenance costs
- The building is not ADA compliant
- The booking area has become a common area which, in addition to the processing of criminals, includes the processing of non-criminals and computer server storage.
- Safety concerns–Juveniles must be processed and detained away from adults, but no separate area currently exists.
- The Emergency Operations Center also functions as an office for five sergeants, a briefing room, a meeting room and a training room. Each time the EOC is required, appropriate furniture and equipment must be brought in and other moved aside
- The investigative area is inadequate to house detectives and provide space for necessary equipment and interviews. Equipment must be moved around to provide an area for interviews and there are safety issues associated with conducting interviews in common areas