Members of the Sandwich Police Department are set to move into their new state-of-the-art building station on Monday, June 17.
The new building comes in at 13,000 square feet, which gives the 60 full- and part-time staff members more than triple the space of the current 4,000-square-foot station.
Outside, the building is painted a subdued shade of blue. Raised letters on a white background are painted a similar blue. The building itself is somewhat nestled behind a natural fence of trees that Police Chief Peter N. Wack said he insisted not be cut down to accommodate the building. He said that as an environmental biology major, it was important to him to leave as many trees untouched as possible.
The main entrance of the police building faces Cotuit Road. Starting Monday, an entrance driveway to the facility will be opened along Cotuit Road, and the Quaker Meetinghouse Road driveway will be used only for construction vehicles.
Inside the building, everything smells new and has a distinct Cape Cod vibe. The flooring in the lobby, for instance, looks like driftwood. Chief Wack said he wanted the building to have a rustic feeling.
While offering a tour of the new facility on Tuesday, June 11, Chief Wack walked into the main lobby and pointed out two telephones on the wall that will allow visitors to contact police administrative offices and the Sandwich Fire Department building, which is under construction at the moment in the same complex. The lobby also has public restrooms, which the current police station does not have.
A room off the lobby is wired up to function as an emergency management room.
In fact, Chief Wack said that all of the rooms in the new building are wired for secure video and audio communication. In the event of an emergency, officials can be at work in several separate rooms within the building and still communicate with each other using the secure network and video conferencing system.
Chief Wack said just about everything in the building runs on computers, down to the phones and the light switches.
A large training room contains rows of tables and chairs, a kitchenette, and four television monitors with an attached camera. This is one of the rooms that is directly connected with the emergency management room, but the room will be used for more general police training, as well. Chief Wack said the room will also be connected directly to Sandwich Community Television, in case something needs to be televised.
Chief Wack pointed out the phones, which are part of the town’s new VoIP (Voice of Internet Protocol) phone system. The phones are computers and, similar to cellphones, the phone number is programmed to the phone instead of to the phone jack. This means that if the chief needs to work out of Sandwich Town Hall for the day, he can bring his phone number with him just by bringing along his phone and plugging in there.
Across the hall is the dispatch center, which appears to be about twice the size of the dispatch at the current station. A series of television screens affixed along the top of one wall show live camera feeds of each of the prisoner cells, as well as several areas around town such as town hall, Snake Pond, and Oakcrest Cove.
There is an attached break area for the dispatchers with bathrooms, a kitchenette, and lockers, so that dispatchers will have little reason to leave the center while on duty.
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Chief Wack pointed out an amber light on the ceiling of the room. These lights are placed throughout the building. If there is an emergency, the lights will flash and alert everyone that something is happening. The intercom system will alert everyone as to where the emergency is. He said this will allow everyone to know immediately when there is a problem.
Looking out of the staff entrance on the side of the building that faces Quaker Meetinghouse Road, Chief Wack said that the parking spaces for officers are 10 feet wide instead of the standard 8 feet because officers had been complaining about hitting each other’s car doors when exiting their vehicles.
Near the staff entrance is the roll call room, where officers will gather at the beginning of each shift to go over the day’s briefings. Several computer stations along the wall will serve as the location where officers can write up their reports. Chief Wack said the room can also be used for training purposes.
A windowed room adjacent to the roll call room houses several desks, where the department’s sergeants will have their own work spaces. Chief Wack said that this was a request made by Sergeant Bruce Lawrence.
The locker rooms are positioned off the roll call room, as well. The women’s locker room has more than enough space to accommodate the department’s four female officers. The men’s locker room is much larger—Chief Wack said that there are 31 men who work in the department.
Both locker rooms are equipped with amber emergency ceiling lights and ceiling speakers. All of the lockers are vented to prevent odors from wet or sweaty clothing and gear.
“We wanted to give patrol officers everything they need in one corner of the building,” Chief Wack said about the placement of the locker rooms, roll call room, and report writing area.
Just down the hall is the armory. Inside the room is a caged area where the department will be able to store its weapons. Another feature of the room is a countertop that has been set up with a special vent to allow officers to clean their firearms safely. The vent will pull all the fumes from any cleaning products outside the building.
Chief Wack said that he is happy to have the feature because he wants officers to become more accustomed to cleaning their guns.
“It’s important to do on a regular basis,” he said.
The next room that the chief walked into is another training room. This one is intended for defensive tactics, as well as for the firearms training simulator that the department uses. The room has a gym floor, so it can be used for training officers on things like properly handcuffing suspects. Chief Wack said that the room can fit 28 people in a training capacity.
The tour continued to the department’s sally port—where prisoners will be brought into the building to be processed and placed into cells.
When an officer brings their cruiser into the garage, the door into the processing area cannot be opened until the garage has closed. Chief Wack said that this helps to control movement throughout the building.
In the processing room is an area where prisoners can be kept during booking. A metal bar recessed into the wall behind the bench allows officers to handcuff a prisoner securely.
A door off this room opens into a safe room, where someone who is at risk of harming themselves can be held. The walls are rubberized.
A small locker room will allow officers to store prisoner property in their own lockers.
After processing, prisoners will then be brought to their cells. Each cell has a heavy sliding door. There is also a handicapped-accessible cell that is slightly larger than the others to accommodate prisoners of all abilities.
The cells are not formally designated as men’s or women’s detention cells, and Chief Wack said that the configuration could change from day to day.
Near to the cells is the first of three interview rooms in the building. The room is placed close to the cells so that the prisoners will not have to leave the detention center to meet with their lawyers, Chief Wack said.
While prisoners currently need to walk through the main lobby of the Route 6A building to exit the station, the new building features what the chief called a “man trap.” Prisoners are able to exit the building from the detention center into a back parking lot where they can meet their ride, if they have one. The parking lot has designated parking spaces for prisoner pickup.
Walking down the hall, Chief Wack pointed out a series of lockers in the wall. He said that they are the evidence lockers, which lock from the outside once they are closed and cannot be reopened except from inside the evidence room. Only two members of the department will have access to the room—the evidence officer and the detective sergeant.
“Evidence is a very ‘critiqued’ thing,” Chief Wack said. The room requires both a pass code and the use of a key fob to enter. The extra measures are being taken to ensure that nothing goes missing.
Inside the evidence room is the other side of the lockers, which the evidence officer can open to retrieve the evidence left by officers from the hallway. There is also a refrigerator for storing sexual assault kits.
Deeper into the evidence room is a series of locking shelves that will be used to store the evidence. A vented closet in the room will serve as drug storage. Chief Wack said that the department’s drug storage is in the most secure part of the building because it is the riskiest kind of evidence to store.
Down the hall is the second interview room, this one with a one-way mirror. Chief Wack said this room will likely be used for more high-profile criminal cases.
The detectives have an improvement on their office space, which, Chief Wack said, is more or less an attic right now. The new spacious office has individual desk space for each detective as well as a table that can be used for conferencing.
Another hallway houses the offices for the lieutenants, the deputy chief, and the chief. Despite the television screens in the offices, Chief Wack said that there is no cable access in the building. Instead, the screens will be used for video conferencing or even data sharing.
Continuing down the hall is a room that will be used solely for firearms licensing. Chief Wack said that in the Route 6A building, people coming in for firearms licensing have to go into the same room used for criminal processing.
The last room before returning to the lobby is the third interview room, which Chief Wack said would likely be the most used room in the building. For most people who want to come in and talk to an officer for any reason, this is the room they will be taken to. It will be a private place where those conversations can take place.
The town has tried to get new public safety buildings in some form or another since the 1980s. Chief Wack said that they first proposed the public safety complex around 2012, with a police building spanning 20,000 square feet.
In order to reduce the cost of that proposal, they had to scale down the building. In order to do that, they shrunk rooms, eliminated outbuildings. and got rid of the basement. The total cost of the project, which also includes the construction of the new fire station, is $17 million.
Chief Wack said that the fire department building is expected to be completed by September.
“It’s a lot of dreaming that’s come true,” he said of the new station.
Operations in the building “go live” on Monday, and the Route 6A building will no longer be staffed. The phone number for the station will still be 508-888-1212.