WATERVILLE — Moving police into the new $3.4 million station is taking slightly longer than expected as officials work out final details of the transition.

Police administrators were expected to be fully moved into the new $3.4 million police station by day’s end Thursday, but moving the communications center and patrol and detective divisions will take a bit longer, according to police Chief Joseph Massey.

“I’m hoping to do all this in the next two weeks,” he said.

Initial plans were to be fully moved by mid-July.

“As we got closer to the date to actually move, some logistical problems have popped up,” Massey said. “Some of the furniture wasn’t what we ordered so we had to send it back.”

Also, there were glitches with air conditioning, heat, electrical and mechanical equipment, but they have been resolved, he said.

The offices of Massey, Deputy police Chief Charles Rumsey, records clerk Judy LaPlante and Massey’s chief executive assistant, Kathleen Kenney-Haley, were easiest to move, so they were to be in the new building Thursday, he said.

But moving the patrol and detective divisions, communications center and booking room requires a lot of coordination. The patrol and communications divisions work very closely together and need to be moved at the same time, he said.

“They would be hard-pressed to operate effectively if they were separated,” he said.

The communications center, which dispatches for the city and other communities, must be fully functional in the new building before the plug is pulled on the current one, according to Massey.

“We have to be absolutely sure that we don’t go down for one second,” he said.

Moving the evidence room is taking extra time as well, as a secure operation is required to move guns, drugs, money and other items, he said.

City Manager Michael Roy said that the police station project is $47,339 under budget.

“In general, construction costs have so far been less than projected,” he said.

Roy said he doesn’t think the project could have gone any better than it did.

“The quality of construction is excellent, the ability to stay under budget — very, very good and sticking to the timeline also is very, very good,” he said.

The driveway into the new police station from Colby Street is between the U.S. Social Security Administration building and Waterville District Court.

While planning for the new police station, city officials discussed the possibility of building another one on Colby Street for easier police access. But the state denied the city’s request because when the state built Colby Street years ago it was with federal money and the condition: that the road configuration not change, according to Roy.

Some city officials hoped the state might change its mind once the new station was built, but Roy said he does not think that will happen.

“I think that we have to live with what we have there for access,” he said. “We’re pretty well convinced that the state is not going to change its mind on the access point.”

Roy said he thinks the current access will work fine. Police will have be able to get to both College Avenue and Main street from Colby Circle, and it is seldom that one or two cruisers are not out in the community anyway, he said.

“I don’t anticipate any traffic problems where they (police) will be (Colby Street), compared to where they are now (Front Street),” he said.

Massey agreed, saying he thinks police response time to emergency calls will not be negatively affected.

Officers have mobile data systems, cellphones, tracking equipment and computers, so communication is better than ever, he said.

“It’s not that critical that the officers really come back to the station often to support the tour of duty,” he said. “They can do it right in the car.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]

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