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Safety Standards and requirements have been updated since our current public safety structure was renovated in 1986, now it has deficiencies of health, security, safety, and accessibility.
People with mobility concerns use a separate entrance to enter the building, and with no elevator, are excluded from the Chief’s and other offices.
Frequent flooding threatens the health, also electrical, and emergency systems. Water and mold enter the booking area, dog holding pens, electrical room, and unventilated locker rooms where floor mats must be used to keep officers’ feet dry.
Besides a full power panel, the electrical room houses water pipes, creating a potential fire hazard and loss of dispatch communications. Two outdated communication systems—one from the 1980s, one a used 2000s system—handle EMT, fire, and police calls 24/7, but repair parts can only be found on eBay.
Safety Threats to Officers and Detainees
Without a sally port, officers must park outside and walk detainees through areas where stored items become potential weapons. They use a breathalyzer outside a secured detention area, the only possible location. State inspectors annually flag deficiencies, including suicide and choking hazards, in the holding area as cells are grandfathered under obsolete 1980s standards.
Lack of Private Interview Rooms Used with Victims of Crime
Just off the lobby, the conference room has no ventilation or soundproofing, so you can clearly hear sounds from outside; here, police meet members of the public and interview persons of interest.
Inadequate Police Training and Emergency Operations Area
Officers must travel elsewhere for training as there is no large space for the entire department to meet or train, nor to assemble with state police, National Seashore, etc., during events such as July 4 and Carnival.
Inadequate Evidence Storage and Work Areas
Paper evidence is stored in the full attic. Physical evidence must be stored in a secured outdoor trailer. Locker rooms are so small, officers must hang damp bullet-proof vests to dry over the corners of lockers. Offices double as storage areas for hug-a-bears, spare outerwear, radio parts, and parking tickets. Arms and ammunition are stored in a crammed-locked casket elevator. Parking is hazardous to police vehicles, neighbors, and pedestrians.
The proposed building meets all current codes, the ADA, and delivers essentials for 21st century policing providing the community with a serviceable building for the next 50 years.
The building may be seen by the public from Route 6, as in all other Outer Cape towns, which also provides direct access to the highway for officers.
There is safe access to enough public parking on site. Accessibility for all through the front entrance, a lobby from which the public receives direct services—which can’t be done now—and an elevator to reach administrative offices.
Privacy and safety
In the lobby an interview room doubles as a “safe room” for those at risk, where today’s lobby can’t offer even a seat.
The dispatch office will be outfitted with modern technology, equipment, and the 911 system will remain functional at critical times.
Officers and detainees will use a sally port transferring from vehicles into the building, which is standard for modern police stations. Booking and cells meet current state standards providing safer processing of detainees.
In new indoor and outdoor areas, officers can safely and humanely care for animals, rather than in space at risk of flooding in the current facility.
A purpose-built work environment helps morale among current employees, and aids in getting new recruits by offering appropriate workspaces for administration, training, reporting, and locker rooms.
Critical files, documents, and physical evidence—both current and acquired over the next 50 years—are safely and properly stored.
The new Police Station aligns with the department’s ongoing efforts to reduce risk to the Town through compliance with management standards of the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission’s voluntary Certification Program.
Existing trees on the site must be removed to construct the new station. Unlikely to relocate well, steps will be taken to mitigate this, including the planting of 53 new trees, 54 new shrubs, and 3500 ground coverings. All plantings are native to Cape Cod, such as Red Cedar and bayberry, and have “good” or “better” drought tolerance ratings by the US Forest Service.
The location is outside of the flood plain and wetlands and the building is designed to withstand the forces outlined in the MA Building Code for wind and seismic events. It is designed for 24/7 operation with an emergency backup generator.
Energy Efficiency, Carbon Footprint Reduction
The building will be equipped with high efficiency, state-of-the-art heating, cooling, and lighting systems. It will be insulated to the stringent “Stretch Energy Code” standards. It will be solar-ready, structured for the added weight, and with an electrical system ready to “plugin” the installation. Town staff will work with the Cape and Vineyard Electrical Coop to install a solar array at no cost, as they have on the Transfer Station, Water Treatment Plant, and Veterans Memorial Community Center.
The Building Committee and Town Staff have worked diligently to contain costs and explore all options since the 2019 Town Meeting vote. In 2022, construction costs are estimated to be approximately 30% higher than the average of the actual bids received in 2019. The cost of building materials, and availability of materials have driven construction costs up during the COVID period.
Total Project Cost
The estimate for the entire project is approximately $16.6 million, of which hard construction is $13.5 million and soft costs are $3.1 million.
This includes excavation, foundations, building structure, walls, roof, windows, doors, and all interior and exterior mechanical and electrical equipment, utilities, site restoration, paving, and landscaping.
These include the Architect, Engineers Owner’s Project Manager Fees; specialized Police Equipment, IT/Computers, Fixtures and Furnishings, Materials Testing during construction, and Legal and Administrative Services.
Property Tax Impact
If funded with a standard 20-year bond, the effect on residential properties would be approximately $29 per $100,000 of assessed value. For example, the impact on a condo with an assessed value of $500,000 would be $145 +/- per year for 20 years. It may be possible to reduce the impact on property tax bills. Any Town Meeting authorization will be offset by any grants received.
2017 $8.6 Budget
The total project budget approved at the 2017 Town Meeting for $8.6M was inaccurate and misleading. Based on depressed 2016 estimates, it did not include a premium for working on the Outer Cape nor a sufficient contingency. Today, anything built for that budget would be inadequate to meet the Police Department’s needs.
In 2019, the Town received three bids for the building construction – $9.1M, $9.8M, and $9.9M. This would have required the Town to increase the budget allocation to cover the entire project cost, which Town Meeting did not approve.
Attempts to Reduce Costs
The Building Committee reviewed design options in 2018 and again in 2021, concluding that the current design is the most cost-effective, and meets all the needs of the department, in the smallest, most practical layout. The Police Department’s programming needs have not changed since the 2019 design.
Redesign and Increased Costs
The estimated project cost has risen $4.5M since 2019. A complete redesign at this point would add months to the process and result in additional costs. In addition to a projected $1M in additional building construction costs, soft costs, including approximately $850K in Architectural and Owner’s Project Manager fees, would raise the overall project budget.
Reducing the Building’s Size
This design is right-sized and is laid out in an efficient manner with no extras or unused space. The Building Committee eliminated about 3,000 SF from the first design of 2012; there is nothing now left to cut. Reducing the size any further would lead to spending millions on an inadequate building that runs the risk of being obsolete sooner than the life span of this building.
Costs per Square Foot Comparison
The 2019 building cost was $708 per SF, a reasonable price when compared to other Cape Cod police stations. Orleans and Wellfleet’s building costs updated to 2019 costs were approximately $730 and $700 per SF. In 2022, the 30% price inflation brings the current estimate to approximately $950 per SF.
The efficiency of the modern systems in this building will result in lower operating costs compared to the existing older buildings. HVAC systems, electrical systems, LED lighting, windows and doors, and insulation, all were selected for efficiency and their long-term cost savings. The future installation of a solar array will contribute to additional savings.
Town Meeting Vote
In 2017 Town Meeting voted to build the police station at 16 Jerome Smith, a lot the Town owns, so there is no acquisition expense.
Other Sites Considered
Ten sites were evaluated, and 4 sites with a total of 6 options were selected for further evaluation in 2016. Of those 6 options, 3 are no longer available, 2 others can’t meet the needs of the police department, so this is the only suitable site.
Residents at the 2013 Town Meeting voted the VFW site be purchased for “municipal uses” including affordable housing. The VFW site is no longer available.
The Skate Park
The Recreation Committee is currently evaluating options for relocating the Skate Park.
The Current Police Station site
The Town will hold this site for future projects. The final decision on its use will be made by the Select Board
At 13,684 sq. ft., the new police station is right-sized and efficiently laid out with no extras or unused space. It prioritizes functionality now and for the next 50 years, including the right size and right type space for officers, detectives, staff, dispatch personnel, detainees, and members of the public.
A Special Needs Assessment prepared by The Center of Public Safety found the existing facility “woefully undersized” and lacking “a proper evidence storage area.”
Examples of Areas Requiring More Space
Evidence collection, handling, and storage will occur in purpose-built spaces to assure chain of custody and enough space to archive them in perpetuity.
The elevator requires spaces for it and its own mechanical room.
The Dispatch (and the entire facility) will have up-to-date technology requiring a server room, and is sized to function separately 24/7.
The Roll Call room is sized to allow the full staff to meet in one location for the first time ever.
Comparison of the size to other Cape townsSize of the new police station compared to other police facilities
The style is similar to the proposed Stellwagen Bank building near MacMillan Wharf and in the vernacular of the National Seashore building at Herring Cove. A modern interpretation of New England maritime buildings, it reflects current trends and materials while recalling the traditional linear buildings along our waterfront piers.
In an online survey; two options were presented to residents in September 2021. Of the 1779 responses to the poll, 81% preferred this design option.
Estimated costs for creating additional designs would increase the project total by nearly $2 million for architectural design, owner’s project management fees, and additional construction costs associated with any redesigned features, plus inflation.
The durable traditional board and batten/cedar shingle siding have a typical life expectancy of 25 to 30 years. It will attain a gray patina over time, can withstand damp climates, and is both sound absorbing and naturally insect resistant.
Regulations and Codes
The building itself must meet the requirements of the Massachusetts State Building Code 780 CMR, and the Architectural Access Board Regulations 521 CMR. The detention area specifically is governed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Regulations regarding the Construction, Maintenance, and Design of Lock-Up Facilities. All rooms and spaces meet the requirements of modern policing as well as provide a safe, functional, and efficient workspace.
The new police station will fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the MA Architectural Access Board Regulations, which allow people with mobility concerns to enjoy equal access into and throughout the building, including elevator access to both floors.
Public Lobby and Interview Room
A modest and welcoming lobby is the primary space open to the public. Adjacent is a private interview room for brief conversations with members of the public, which doubles as a “safe room” for people at risk.
This area is occupied 24/7. For safety and quick response, the staff is required to remain in the Dispatch Office during the entirety of their shifts. It contains a breakroom and a toilet, along with updated technology, to allow critical staff to provide a continuous response to incidents.
The station contains five cells, the same as the current facility, but these will meet the Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulations, unlike the grandfathered current facility, which fails inspection every year. Per the regulations, the detention area will contain cells for males, females, juveniles, and persons with disabilities. The holding area is utilized for the booking process and provides overflow space if needed during the seasonal increase of activity in town.
This secure portal provides the safe transfer of detainees from vehicles to the Detention Area and is standard in modern policing.
Roll Call Room
For the first time, the entire department will be able to meet and train as one group; there is no room to do so in the current building. This will allow the department to conduct community police academies, and to sustain additional staff when needed. Serving also as a multi-agency coordination center, it supports the efforts of State Police, National Seashore, Police, Fire, and Public Works departments during scheduled large community events such as July 4 and Carnival, and long-duration events such as an extended weather event.
To address the growing prevalence of cyber-crime, scams, and personal data theft, this dedicated space is used for transferring and storing data, such as from vehicle and body cameras, for collecting and using the output from electronic devices, to meet the needs of family and other social interventions, and to perform duties related to responsibilities with outside agencies.
Court Liaison Office
The Court Liaison Officer’s work with sensitive documents requires a separate space to link the department with the Orleans District Court, Barnstable Superior Court, District Attorney, Probation Department, and other agencies.
Archive Storage Area
For evidentiary reasons most courts require original documents, generally precluding electronic records. Some physical records must be kept in perpetuity, others are on a state schedule of 1 to 30 years. While electronic records may be admitted in evidence under some circumstances, this is not standard in Massachusetts and is at the discretion of each judge. In addition to paper evidence, photos, fiber/hair evidence, and other items such as handwritten case officer notes must also be stored in each case file.
Animal Control Office
To enable animal control to care for animals in a humane environment, the office contains one kennel for sick animals and a second for healthy animals. A door leading directly outside allows animals to be moved to the outdoor contained dog run, avoiding public spaces.
The interior is constructed of familiar durable materials such as low maintenance painted drywall, ceramic tile, carpet, acoustical tile.
Construction of the new Police Station will be Bid, Awarded, and Constructed in accordance with the Massachusetts laws relating to publicly funded projects.
Fall 2021: Contractor Pre-Qualification
A public process solicited General Contractors to submit their qualifications to be the General Contractor. We are very encouraged that 12 contractors responded, and after review, 12 were deemed qualified to bid on the project.
April 4, 2022: Town Meeting
A Yes vote is required on the Police Station Funding Article for the project to proceed to the next step.
April 13, 2022: Sub-trade Bids
In accordance with MA laws, filed sub bids for Masonry, Plumbing, Fire Protection, HVAC, Electrical, and other work will be bid and received.
May 4, 2022: General Construction Bids
The Prequalified General Contractors will be invited to submit their bids for the construction of the project.
May 10, 2022: Town Election
A Yes vote is required on the Ballot Question for the project to move forward
Spring/Summer 2022: Contract Signed & Construction Start
After receipt and analysis of the bids, the project will be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, and construction will begin.
October – December 2023: Project Complete and Move-In
After an estimated 18-20 month construction period and a 1-2 month move-in and set up period, the Police will open for operation.