On open day, residents tour new police headquarters
On Sunday morning, the Dartmouth Police Department celebrated the opening of its brand-new headquarters on Tucker Road with a well-attended ribbon cutting ceremony and open house tour for residents who wanted to see the new facility.
Ground was broken on the 20,000 square foot building in June last year after Town Meeting members approved the $13.4 million project in June 2017.
Since 2014, police had been conducting operations out of modular units near the former Russells Mills Road headquarters.
They had moved to the units after an officer became sick with Legionnaires’ disease while working at the former headquarters, previously a town hall that was converted to police use.
Although the new station has its furniture and most of the computers in place, officers have only just started moving a few items in. The official move-in date is September 24.
“They’ve been in those modular units for five years, never complaining, working hard, servicing the community. And they deserve a lot of credit for that,” said Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes before the ceremony.
“Running a 24-7 police operation is not easy. And to do that from modular units that are less than what other departments have, much less, is a testament to their hard work and dedication to the town,” he added.
“It’s what the police deserve,” agreed Select Board member David Tatelbaum. “But more importantly it’s all about the people of the police department. This is a building, but the heart and soul of this department is the people — from the Chief on down. They’re just a great group of people.”
Dartmouth High junior Emerson Clark sang the national anthem during the ceremony, while town officials — including MacInnes, Tatelbaum, Select Board member Stanley Mickelson, and Police Chief Brian Levesque — spoke to mark the occasion.
All commented on the great turnout and summery weather, and Chief Levesque noted in his speech that the building was completed “on time and under budget,” to resounding applause.
“Yes, you heard me correctly, on time and under budget,” he repeated. “An accomplishment that’s not commonly associated with government work, but one that we are very proud of.”
Levesque later stated that although final minor additions are likely, the cost of the building is expected to come in at around $1 million less than planned.
He said that he had been cleaning it all weekend to “put on some finishing touches” before showing it off to the town.
“I need to get my vacuum back,” he joked, before adding more seriously, “I hope everyone who wanted to see the building could see it.”
So many residents came out for the tour that they wouldn’t all fit.
By lunchtime there was a line snaking around and out the entrance for those waiting to get in.
But there was food and drink on offer in the parking lot, and families could meet K-9 units and look at other police equipment — such as a S.W.A.T. van — while waiting.
A host of volunteers from the department took groups of several people on half-hour tours through the building, explaining the technology and features in the state-of-the-art facility.
And although with so many people, tours inevitably bumped into each other, by the end of the event both police and residents seemed pleased with how it all turned out.
“I noticed that a couple of people were going against the grain, but it worked out fine,” said Detective Kyle Costa after leading his first tour of the building. “The tour was awesome...It’s a gorgeous facility. It’s beyond our expectations.”
“The tour was spectacular,” said resident and Town Meeting member Rich Rheaume. “I had no idea how many different departments and functions were within the force...It’s phenomenal that they were running this operation out of those cramped quarters. It’s unbelievable.”
For photos and more information on the different rooms and features of the new building, please take a look at our gallery on the right.