New Police Station Project Page
- Minimized impact on wetlands
- Faster construction timeline (approximately sixteen months)
- Uninterrupted Police Department operations
- Complete separation from the public during construction
August 21, 2023 - Presentation to Town Council re Police Station Massing Options
"The police facility continues to be very cramped. We operate out of a facility of 9,000+ square feet that houses 75 full time employees. We have run out of office and storage space and have sacrificed floor space to other needs. This has a direct impact on our ability to do the job the best way possible."
Stephen MacKinnon, Chief of Police
From the 1998 Town Report
The following is a quick history of the actions taken through the years to advance the cause of an updated, properly sized facility for the Salem Police Department.
The need for an updated Police Station dates back as far as the 1970's. A warrant article from 1976 Town Meeting provided for a roughly 5,000 ft2 addition, bringing the Police Station to a total of 8,600 ft2 for a department of 50 employees. The Department soon outgrew this space. In 1999, the Town added 2 trailers to the property to address space needs as the department grew to 75 employees. This represents the last addition to the current site.
Space deficiencies remained and in 2002 the Selectmen commissioned a Building Committee to study the needs of a new facility, with a report and plans to be ready for 2004 Town Meeting. The Committee had three tasks: (1) choose the location for the new Police Station; (2) determine building space needs today and for the next 30 years; and (3) determine what taxpayers in Salem can afford to pay in taxes for a new Police Station.
The Committee voted that the building design shall be for a 28,800 square foot building, including a schematic expansion plan for 6,500 square feet to be located on a town-owned parcel of land on Lawrence Road and accessible from Sally Sweets Way. This advanced to Town Meeting article 22 which would have committed $7,450,000. Despite winning a plurality of affirmative votes, the measure failed to meet the required 2/3 votes necessary to issue a municipal bond.
Following this vote, the Board of Selectmen in 2006/07 tried a new approach for a station that responded to criticisms dealt during the previous process. The new approach included a reduced police station footprint located on the existing site, focused solely on departmental needs and utilizing a Design/Build approach. Plans were drafted, a contractor was selected and the measure was moved to the Town Meeting warrant article with a total cost of $7,135,712. Again, the measure failed.
In 2008, the Town undertook modest improvements and replaced the 1999 manufactured units with 3 new ones. At this point, there was a total of 13,880 ft2 for 75 employees.
In 2015, the Town tried again with a concept for a Public Safety Complex to house both Police and Fire, with the departments co-located on the Police Station parcel. The project had a total cost of $23,480,000 and would have provided 26,535 ft2 for Police and 27,830 ft2 for Fire. The measure was unsuccessful.
More recently, the Town Selectmen assembled the Municipal Building Advisory Committee (MBAC) to revisit the Police facility among others. The choose the location for the new station, determine building space needs for the present and next 30 years and determine what Salem taxpayers could afford to pay for a facility. The current plans and decisions are driven by the MBAC goals and process.
The Salem Police Department (PD) is committed to providing opportunities for the public to see the Station for themselves. We invite you to speak with guides about the existing conditions and the space needs of a modern operation. We have already hosted the members of various Town Committees, including the Town Council, Budget Committee, Communications Committee, and the Zoning Board.
The Salem Police Department have scheduled a series of regular open houses on Tuesdays and Saturdays for the general public to see the Station! Click here to see the schedule and Sign Up!
To date, we have completed 20 guided tours for the public since August. Additional tours are scheduled and you can sign up by clicking the graphic above..
Further, we are providing additional outreach opportunities by participating in the following community activities, as follows:
|March 7, 2024
|Presentation on Police Station Project to Women's Group at Ingram Senior Center
|March 4, 2024
|Presentation on Police Station Project to Men's Group at Ingram Senior Center
|February 28, 2024
|Police Station Public Information Session #2 at Salem High School Media Center
|February 1, 2024
|Presentation on Police Station Project to Salem Republican Party
|January 31, 2024
|Chamber of Commerce Round Table at Ingram Senior Center
|January 30, 2024
|Presentation on Police Station Project to Salem Democratic Party
|January 18, 2024
|Police Station Public Information Session #1 at Salem High School Media Center
|January 16, 2024
|Town Council and Budget Committee Public Hearing on Salem Warrant Articles
|October 15, 2023
|12:30 to 4:30 pm
|Harvest Fest 2023, Mary Queen of Peace
|September 30, 2023
|Salem Scramble, Salem High School
|September 30, 2023
|9:00 am to 1:00 pm
|Drive Life 2023, Drive Custom Fitness, Tuscan Village
|August 27, 2023
|11:00 am to 4:00 pm
|Family Fun Day, Field of Dreams
|August 1, 2023
|5:00 to 8:00 pm
|National Night Out, Salem Police Department
- Why do we need a new police station?
The existing facility exhibits a range of deficiencies that impede its functionality and safety. Notably, it fails to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, lacks a sprinkler system, and cannot simultaneously accommodate interviews with multiple victims or suspects. The absence of proper segregation between criminal and non-criminal spaces, insufficient sight and sound separation for different detainee groups, and the lack of accessible restrooms pose serious limitations.
Moreover, the infrastructure is inadequate, outdated, and faulty. The building's design does not align with modern technological needs, and there are concerns related to electrical overloads and inadequate temperature control for IT equipment. The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system's inefficiency leads to temperature imbalances across the facility. Numerous deficiencies are noted in the fire alarm system, and some operational aspects, like detainee transportation and plumbing, present ongoing challenges.
Severe overcrowding compounds these issues. Essential units, such as the Investigations Unit, operate from an outdated trailer, leading to storage challenges and the repurposing of detainee cells for record storage. Evidence storage inadequacies, constrained locker space, and the lack of proper office arrangements further hinder efficient operations. Additionally, efforts to secure federal grant funding for agency improvement are hampered by the building's limitations, impeding workspace and storage solutions required for new personnel, equipment, and documentation.
Specialty units’ resort to sheds for equipment storage, while multi-functional rooms, like the roll call/briefing space, struggle to accommodate the needs of a growing employee count. Dispatch capabilities fall short, with an insufficient setup for potential simultaneous dispatchers. The facility's shortcomings extend to areas such as School Resource Officer workspaces, on-site Animal Control Services, and personnel record storage. In sum, these deficiencies collectively hinder the agency's operational effectiveness, safety, and potential for community service enhancement.
- Where will it be built?
The new facility will be built on the site of the current police station at 9 Veterans Memorial Parkway.
Other Sites Considered
The Municipal Building Advisory Committee did look at other sites including a location off of Stiles Road and Abanki Park at 71 Geremonty Drive.
- Is the existing site the best location for a new Station?
Yes. The Municipal Building Advisory Committee (MBAC), the Police Department staff, and the Town Council are unanimous in their belief the present site is the most optimal for the new facility. This consensus is driven by several compelling factors: first, there is no expenditure involved in acquiring land from the taxpayers; second, the location boasts a strategically central position; and finally, there exists ample space for the construction of the facility.
- What will happen to the existing station is a new one is built?
During the construction of the new facility, the current station will not be operational. To ensure continued service, staff will be temporarily relocated. The process will involve demolishing the existing station before constructing the new facility in its place.
- How would the Town pay for the facility?
The Town would need to finance the majority of the cost of the facility through bonds paid through taxes. Additionally, Public Safety Impact Fees will be allocated toward the bond principal.
Bonds may be issued in phases. Savings in construction costs or contributions from grants or donors would be used to reduce the amount the Town had to bond or repay the bonds early.
- Is grant money available?
At this time, there are no grants or Federal funding for brick and mortar projects, however there are grant opportunities available for certain aspects of the project, such as technology, communication, and energy saving projects. To take advantage of grant money, the full project must be funded and ready for construction. Staff is prepared to research and apply for grants once the project is funded and ready to be built. Any contributions or grants the Town secured would be used to reduce the cost of the bond amount or used to pay off the bonds early.
- The proposed facility includes a Firing Range for the Police Department. Why doesn’t the Police Department continue to use other training facilities in the state?
The proposed police range would be approximately 3,100 square feet, depending on design options. This building is a small portion of the projected cost for the whole facility. The proposed range will address the Police Department’s current training needs and support long-term training goals. The on-site range building would allow officers to move from the classroom immediately to training exercises where critical thinking and decision-making skills are honed under stressful conditions in a controlled environment. An on-site range reduces problems related to travel costs to other facilities, lack of availability at other facilities, and lack of integration into a regular training regimen. The construction of the range will provide an adequate training facility for several decades.
- Can I see the existing conditions for myself?
The Police Department is happy to schedule a tour for residents. Residents may call the station at (603) 893-1911 to arrange a tour.
The Town also has a video that shows the condition of the station posted on the Town website.