It could be weeks before Egremont Police get new headquarters
EGREMONT -- Town police officers could hardly be blamed for wanting more office space, but the wait goes on.
Currently, the Egremont Police Department is run from two rooms in the town hall, located at 171 Egremont Plain Road.
Officers are expected to move into a new, more spacious seven-room police station located in a separate building at the same address, but it's likely to take several more weeks, according to interim Police Chief Brian Shaw.
The station was expected to open late last year, but bad weather and changes in leadership on the project have stalled the move, according to town officials. The Board of Selectmen are currently managing the project, but said they have been preoccupied with a busy schedule.
Last week, the building received a temporary certification of use and occupancy.
"We're getting close and we're nearly there," Shaw said.
The department's current quarters is 333 square feet. The new station will offer a lot more leg room, spread across 1,350 square feet.
Shaw said he had hoped a move would happen in two weeks, but no movement can be made until computer servers are installed. That process just started, he said.
In addition to changes in the administration of the project, Shaw said there was also some confusion across town departments about what had and hadn't been done to prepare for the move. He said building efforts were being replicated, and necessary construction was held off because some administrators thought the work had already been completed.
Shaw said the management has smoothed out, though.
"It's just because of the disruption in the whole administrative part of the police department," Shaw said.
A full-time officer with the Stockbridge Police Department, Shaw became the interim police chief for Egremont in May, when Reena Bucknell was placed on paid administrative leave by selectmen after a consultant's report raised questions about the police department's management.
Shaw said the Egremont police office at Town Hall lacks space for storage and poses a safety hazard with limited room to maneuver when two officers need to question a suspect.
The department currently has two-full time and five part-time officers.
The new station project is budgeted for $415,000 and remains under budget by $90,000, according to Selectman Mary Brazie.
"It's been a long battle," Brazie said. "We went to town meeting on many occasions. A lot of hard work was done by town officials, including [Chief] Reena Bucknell. It's been a long-awaited occurrence."
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