BERLIN – As work continues on the town’s new police station, the project remains on schedule for completion in early 2018.
Passersby can now see the shape of the new Berlin Police Department as construction proceeds at the Decatur Street site.
“It looks really different today even than it did a couple of weeks ago,” Town Administrator Laura Allen said. “We think it looks great but to hear people tell us it looks great is even more rewarding.”
Officials say construction, which began in early January, is going well. According to Lt. Robert Fisher, drywall will be installed within the next two weeks and the outside is nearly weatherproofed. Preparation for paving and the installation of curbing around the building is set to begin in mid-August.
“We’re very pleased with how it’s gone,” Chief Arnold Downing said.
He said the building was on target to be complete in January 2018, as officials have planned from the start. Once it’s done, however, he says the transition into the new building will take some time as equipment is installed.
Downing said he and his officers were looking forward to moving into a state-of-the-art facility after years of inhabiting the small space adjacent to town hall. He pointed out that the existing station wasn’t able to comply with most public safety mandates as it was lacking in space and technology. There is no area to keep juvenile detainees, for example, nor are there rooms wired to allow for recorded interrogations.
The Decatur Street station, however, will meet modern day standards and has been designed for the future. Downing said its training room was large enough to host multi-agency events. The building itself — which is 20 percent larger than necessary — has been designed to allow for easy expansion in the future.
“It’ll be predicated on the town itself growing,” Downing said.
Since construction began, the facility has generated interest from several other law enforcement agencies. Representatives from the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office were expected to visit this week.
Downing says his peers from across Delmarva are simply following the station’s progress in an effort to gather ideas for construction projects in their own jurisdictions.
“We’re going to be the newest police department on the Eastern Shore,” Downing said, adding that law enforcement wanted to see what had been implemented in Berlin. “We visited seven agencies before we built ours. They’re doing the same things we did.”
Once Downing and his staff have moved to the new station, the existing space will be incorporated into town hall. Allen said it was too early to say exactly how the space would be used but that funding was in the current budget for the project. She said there were some things lacking at town hall — record storage space, for example — and that those needs would likely be addressed with the renovation.
“We’re looking at things we don’t have now that we need,” she said.