BERLIN – Dozens of community members and law enforcement officers from throughout the Eastern Shore celebrated Berlin’s new police station Friday.
A crowd gathered at the new Decatur Street facility for a ribbon cutting to mark the completion of the $2.5 million facility. The modern-day building replaces the Berlin Police Department’s outdated and outgrown space adjacent to town hall.
“At long last we are gathered here today to not just commemorate but to celebrate the official opening of Berlin’s state-of-the-art 21st century police headquarters,” Mayor Gee Williams said.
Williams said the project, which will take about a decade to pay off, was funded primarily through the town’s share of slots revenue generated by Ocean Downs Casino.
“This is not an expense,” he said. “The price tag is simply a wise investment for our town today and for several generations of citizens to follow.”
He said that while the town was immensely proud of the new station, officials recognized the importance of the officers it housed.
“Good policing is all about people,” he said. “In Berlin our police department in this century has embraced community policing and it is making all the difference. . A key component of effective community policing is a well-trained,, professional and caring police department that works every day to earn the trust and respect of the citizens of our community and our guests.”
Police Chief Arnold Downing thanked his fellow Berlin residents, the town’s businesses and its churches for their support of the project. He said not every community could offer that.
“We have to go ahead and understand how grateful we should be and how humble we are,” he said.
He also acknowledged the project’s architect, Crosby and Associates, as well as builder Willow Contracting. Downing also recognized the Phillips family, as the new station is built on the property once home to the family’s farm.
Dozens of local officials were present to show their support for the long-awaited station. Several voiced their appreciation for the efforts of Berlin’s officers as well as those throughout the area.
“If this building helps them do their jobs I say money well spent,” said Pat Schrawder, representing Del. Mary Beth Carozza.
Worcester County Commissioner Diana Purnell, a longtime Berlin resident, praised the cooperative efforts that made the new station possible.
“Berlin has come a long way,” she said.
Law enforcement representatives from Fruitland, Pocomoke, Ocean Pines, Ocean City, Snow Hill and Chestertown were in attendance, as were members of Maryland State Police and the Worcester County’s Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re all working together as a team to make you safe,” Sheriff Reggie Mason said.
Members of the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office were also present. Retired Worcester County Judge Dale Cathell regaled the crowd with a tale of a visit to Berlin’s old jail from his youth.
“This is a dynamic improvement over the old days,” he joked.
Following an official ribbon cutting, Downing took the crowd through the new station, highlighting the training room, gym and sally port—areas that didn’t exist at the old station. A new work room provides computer stations for Berlin’s officers as well as visiting law enforcement. The new station also features three adult jail cells as well as space for juveniles.
“This is an investment that’s so long been needed,” Williams said.
Police invite community members to attend an open house at the new facility Saturday Feb. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.