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May 07

Chief Roger Tucker, Letter to the Editor

Posted on May 7, 2015 at 8:06 AM by Jeffrey Rudinski

Proposed Police Station Facility,

     As the Chief of Police, I submit this letter requesting your support on behalf of the men and women who provide your police and emergency communication services in the Town of Wilbraham. Sixteen months ago the Board of Selectmen charged a committee of dedicated volunteers who have spent countless hours to determine the future program needs of this department, and evaluate options for the relocation of the Police Station.  The Committee interviewed eleven Architectural firms and selected Tecton Architects. To date the Committee has met thirty-four times to identify and evaluate the program needs of a 21st century police station.  They have always maintained a philosophy, that the mission must be accomplished to meet the long term needs at a reasonable price.  The current facility was built 111 years ago in 1904 as a school house. It also served as the Town Hall until 1978, when it was renovated and became the police station. It has served this community well, but is deteriorating due to moisture migration through the red brick foundation. The current location is too small to expand the building. During the evaluation process fifteen separate sites throughout town were considered by the Committee, both public and privately owned. A Request for Proposal (RFP) was posted, and five sites were submitted by owners for consideration. Upon review, the site located at 2780 Boston Rd. was determined to be the most feasible, having the lowest acquisition cost, that met the criteria established by the Architect and the Committee for the proposed facility.  Boston Rd. was determined to be the preferred location, due to it being highly visible to residents and citizens passing through our community. The majority of police calls for police service are along the Rt. 20 corridor. The site next to Fire Headquarters offers the advantage of access to their radio tower, necessary public utilities, and it is not within a residential neighborhood, or close to public schools.

      The initial estimate of $9.4 million dollars was unacceptable to the Committee members, and after hard work, due diligence and deliberation by the committee, the current estimate stands a $7,960,194 dollars. Our expectation is that this complete number includes a contingency ratio to address unknown potential cost escalation before the project goes out to bid to interested contractors. The reduced square footage of proposed building still includes the program needs identified, and has room for modest growth of both the Police and Central Dispatch Departments for the next several decades. Police facilities are unique in the components that are required by building codes, fire suppression and established standards for public safety buildings. Items such as secure prisoner holding areas that reduce suicide attempts, HVAC requirements, necessary communication equipment, evidence areas, are factors governed by State Laws which cause police facilities to be more expensive to build than other traditional buildings.

      Wilbraham Public Access created a 32 minute virtual tour of our facility for the local access channel, a Power Point presentation has been prepared for the public forums and Town Meeting which can also be viewed on the department web site or face book page, and on Saturday, May 2nd from 10-2pm the department will host it’s third Open House. I encourage you to please stop by, tour your police facility, ask questions and make an informed decision.  I ask for your support at Town Meeting on Monday, May 11th, and your vote on Saturday, May 16th to make this project a reality. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.


Roger W. Tucker

Chief of Police