Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Position on the Denville Police Station

Parts of Denville's Police Station are in horrible shape. There is inadequate space in the locker room, evidence room, break area, server room and other areas. They have an unacceptable mold problem in the men's locker room. For several years the Denville Police have been promised renovations. Should the Police Station have been updated when the Municipal Building was completed? - Probably. Should the mold problem and overcrowding been addressed a year ago? Definitely. I was not on Town Council then and I am not interested in passing blame. We have a problem now that needs to be addressed.

This year, the Town Council, with 3 new members, was presented several options to remedy the situation. The first, an immediate "band aid" of approximately $300,000, then 2 other options ranging from 1 million to 1.8 million dollars. The "band aid" solution and smaller priced option would only be temporary solutions. However, any cost would be financed over a long period of time with the hopes of minor tax impact.

At a recent Town Council Workshop, we all committed to finding a solution. However, I couldn't vote to give direction to the architects to preliminarily proceed with 1.8 Million dollar renovation just yet. I have seen the Police station and understand the gravity of the situation. Instead, I would have preferred to immediately approve the $300,000 or slightly more to temporarily fix the immediate problems. Perhaps this would cost more in the long run but after last evening I'm concerned with the process of a new renovation. As well, there are times when you just don't have money to buy a new car and must continue to repair the old car in order to make it through a difficult time. I think we are in those times. Most of the Council supported moving forward with the full expansion, however many had differing ideas on the process. The Mayor also had another new proposal he was looking into. This unclear direction worries me that 2 years from now our police station will be no further than it is now. Therefore I would rather a smaller fix that could be executed quickly to improve the working conditions now.

Regardless of my vote, I am committed to keeping the public informed about the condition and needs of our police station. We have the best Police Department in the County led by an outstanding Chief. Several weeks ago the public tours of the station were cancelled, but they need to be reinstated The awareness campaign must continue. We now need to make sure we follow through with improving the Police Station responsibly.