AUGUSTA — Hundreds of residents got their first — and hopefully for most, their last — up close and thorough look at the insides of the new, $20.5 million headquarters for the Augusta Police Department.

City police are still a couple of weeks away from making the move from their dilapidated home on Union Street to the new state-of-the-art station with a grand, stone and glass entryway on Willow Street. But on Wednesday, residents, contractors who worked on the job, city officials, former and current officers, and many others attending a grand opening ceremony got what for most will be the one and only chance to see the entire interior of the building.

Once the building opens as a police station, the public will still be able to access its grandiose lobby area, but getting past that point will require a talk with a dispatcher to meet with an officer. (Or, conversely, for a suspect in a crime, a ride in the back of a police cruiser through the station’s two-bay drive-thru sally port and an escorted walk into an interview room.)

Mayor Mark O’Brien said the building is gorgeous, something residents should take pride in. The city’s police force, which served in their current leaky, outdated building for many years with patience, deserves it, he said.

He also said the project came in under budget and on time, though the project’s timeline did extend a bit further than initially projected — it was initially expected to be ready for occupancy in February. Construction began in November 2022.

“For our law-abiding citizens, this may be their only chance to see the insides,”  O’Brien joked before inviting people to come in for tours that followed grand-opening speech-making and a ribbon-cutting Wednesday.


Once the department moves in, one part of the building will even be off limits to Chief Kevin Lully and all but two officers of the department. Only Staff Sgt. Eric Lloyd and Court Officer Christopher Hutchings, the department’s two designated evidence-handlers, will be allowed the evidence room there.

“Take a look around, this is the only time you guys will be allowed in here. The minute we put a piece of evidence in here, nobody can come in,” Lloyd told a group packed into the evidence area, which has several rows of moveable shelves to hold evidence, as well as refrigerated lockers to store evidence such as blood to preserve DNA samples. In the back is a locked room for drugs and money, and another for guns, as required by FBI standards.

Moving evidence — between 10,000 and 20,000 pieces of it — from the old station to the new will be painstaking, Lloyd said, and likely follow on the heels of patrolmen making the move. He said they were offered a chance to move evidence before the grand opening, but opted not to, to allow people to have at least one-time access to check it out.

“We figured people spent $20 million on it, they should be able to see what they got,” Lloyd said.

Sgt. Eric Lloyd, right, explains how a pass-through locker system securely puts evidence collected by officers into a limited access storage area during a tour Wednesday of the new Augusta Police Station. Once the room is full of evidence, only two designated evidence-handlers will be allowed inside. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

A communications area includes four dispatch stations, each with five monitors, in a room with three big-screen monitors on one wall. There’s a nearby small kitchen, too, so dispatchers don’t have to leave.

Matt Nazar, Augusta’s development director who also oversaw the project for the city, said when the switchover from the old dispatch center to the new one takes place, both should be able to operate simultaneously until the new one is fully switched over and the former shut down.


The new station is directly across the street from old city hall, which served as the headquarters for city police for more than a century, up until just after Lully was hired in 1995 as a patrolman. The building, at that point, was pigeon-infested, dark and dank, but has since been renovated into senior citizen housing.

“To say I’m taken aback a bit by all the events lately would be an understatement,” said Lully, who was just appointed police chief last month. He described the building as unparalleled and state-of-the-art and said it includes conference rooms where police hope they will be able to work more closely with their neighbors in the city.

The view from the new Augusta Police Station second-floor lobby features the Maine State House, left, and the Olde Federal Building, right, seen during a tour after opening ceremonies Wednesday. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The building includes a section, upstairs and to the right of the lobby, with an office for the county’s OPTIONS — or Overdose Prevention Through Intensive Outreach, Naloxone and Safety — worker, who can help people find treatment for substance use disorder. In addition, there are two offices where mental health workers could meet with people, though the department does not currently have any mental health workers.

The second floor of the lobby area has spectacular views of the Kennebec River and downtown Augusta.

With the Kennebec County jail nearby, the new police station does not have any holding cells where prisoners would be detained.

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