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March 13. 2013 10:50PM

New police station up for vote tonight in Antrim

ANTRIM - A new police station is up for a vote at town meeting tonight at Antrim Elementary School gym tonight at 7 p.m.

The proposed $1,579,666 bond would fund the construction and equipping of a new 5,390 square feet police station on an empty Main Street lot.

The current police station, which has been located in the town hall for the past 30 years, is too small, is not compliant with the fire code and is not accessible to people with disabilities, said Police Chief Scott Lester.

The main lobby, where people walk in to report crimes or just ask for directions, is also where the arrested are held by handcuff to a bench. The lobby is also where the sergeant, patrol officers and police secretary work.

"There's no hiding you from what's going on, anybody. Somebody just comes in to ask for directions and they recognize their neighbor," Lester said.

The lack of a cell for the arrested also presents a safety risk to the public and police employees, he said.

And transporting detainees to a cell in a larger town such as Peterborough ties up Antrim officers, he said.

Lester has an office, but it is also used for storage and interviews.

"If I'm in the middle of something and they need to interview someone I get kicked out," he said.

Lester said the project would not have an impact on taxes and would cost less than the bond amount asked since the department has money put aside for the project.

"We've gotten a lot of positive input over the past few weeks as we get closer. We just need the turn out. It's a two-thirds vote," he said. "Basically there's a huge need in town."

mpierce@newstote.com


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