NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — Voters in Norwich will head to the poll on Tuesday to elect local leaders and decide if the city should build a new police station.
Charles Tyree, the Norwich Police Department’s chaplain, said officers need more space for lockers, dispatchers, a community room and evidence storage.
“We’re overcrowded,” Tyree said. “We’ve got boxes and boxes of evidence stored in three locations.“
The current station is 22,000 square feet and was built for 45 people in 1979. Now, 108 people work for the police department.
Tuesday, voters will decide if $44,750,000 should be spent on building a 50,000 square foot police station. The ballot question only addresses the money for the project, not where it will be built.
“We are voting for a facility,” former alderwoman Joanne Philbrick said. “We are not voting for a location, and I think that’s what people are most concerned about.”
Mayor Peter Nystrom reiterated that the vote is only for the money to fund the project.
“It doesn’t select a site,” he said.
The location will be decided by the city council and will receive public input.
The current police station doesn’t have a “soft cell” used so that someone who is undergoing a mental health issue can’t harm themself.
Tyree said a recent study estimated a new station would cost the average taxpayer $120 a year. However, that could be reduced if Norwich receives state or federal grants, which could fund about a quarter of the cost.