Creating a manned East Sandwich fire substation and adding firefighters and police officers were the general choices in the board of selectmen’s Thursday, July 10, discussion of the town’s public safety needs.
Members of the public safety working group presented the selectmen with a wide variety of choices, including construction of a public safety building at the intersection of Quaker Meetinghouse and Cotuit roads which would house both the police and fire headquarters.
The discussion centered on where to locate fire and police facilities in town, rather than on the possible cost of the various plans.
Selectman Susan R. James advocated moving ahead on a plan that would include construction of the new facility, which would improve response times to South Sandwich, and adding more fire and police personnel.
But other selectmen were leery about moving forward on construction of the facility just yet, given possible taxpayer resistance. Voters last year defeated a $30 million public safety proposal that included construction of the new combined headquarters.
Following an extended discussion, Selectman R. Patrick Ellis pinpointed a more widely held sentiment on the board to bring a manned East Sandwich substation online, whether at the location of the current unmanned substation or at Sandwich High School.
Mr. Ellis also identified a willingness on the part of the board to move forward with hiring at least several new firefighters.
Construction of the public safety building might have to wait 10 years, he said.
Town manager George H. Dunham, a member of the working group, said the group would come back to the selectmen by September with a closer analysis of the East Sandwich substation options and addition of more public safety workers.