OAKLAND — Construction of a $1.05 million police station began with a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday, something that’s been a long time coming for the town.

“We’re very excited to have a new building,” police Chief Mike Tracy said. “It’s going to be a nice building for the town.”

Effie McAvoy McClain, chaplain for the Oakland Police Department, said a blessing and prayer Monday morning at the construction site as Town Manager Gary Bowman, police officers, town councilors, members of a facilities committee and others assembled over the freshly graded dirt off Fairfield Street. With excavators working behind them, officials carried a gold-colored shovel and recalled the long road to reaching this point.

The town hopes to finish construction of the station around Aug. 15, Bowman said.

The former police station, a century-old farmhouse, was torn down last month after more than two decades of housing the department. Before that, police were in the basement of the Town Office.

The station never fully met the department’s needs, and the building’s condition worsened over the years, officials said.


Police and town officials said that the old building had leaks and mold, lacked appropriate fire safety measures and posed safety risks to officers, crime perpetrators, victims and the public.

“We have one of the best police departments in the state,” McClain said, “and the fact that they had been using a facility that wasn’t accessible, that they made do with everything that they had, now they’re going to have a facility that they’re going to use for many different things.

“It’s an accessible building, so that’s the biggest thing.”

Bowman noted that the last new town building was the fire station, built in 1955. “So this is big for us,” he said.

The department is occupying the basement of the Town Office, behind the police station, while the new station is being built.

It’s taken several years and multiple proposals for the new police station to become a reality.


Last November, voters approved a plan to build a police station on the site of the old one at a cost of $1.05 million.

It was the third time in six years the town had tried to deal with its aging municipal buildings. In 2009, voters rejected plans to build a $4.5 million municipal complex. The Town Council had planned to move the town offices last year into St. Theresa Church on Church Street, but scrapped the idea after the proposed renovation became too expensive.

The single-story police building will include offices, locker rooms, interview rooms, a secure area for people police arrest and a two-vehicle sally port. A large training room will double as a space for Town Council meetings and other public events.

Tracy, who’s been with the department for 35 years, noted that the department did well enough in the old farmhouse building, but “it’s time was up.”

“It’s been a lot of years,” he said. “We’re very excited to have a new building. I think it’s going to really meet our needs.”

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