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Police chief says department headquarters needs to expand

08/23/2016 4:49 PM |

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More than 50 years after it was first built, the Southold Town Police Department’s headquarters on Main Road in Peconic is now too small and too antiquated to suit the department’s needs, according to the town’s police chief.

At a Town Board meeting Tuesday morning, Chief Martin Flatley announced he wants to look into adding an extension to the existing building, which was built in the mid-1960s. The project — which doesn’t have a price tag yet — could call for a two-story structure that would attach to the main department building by the open front lawn, Mr. Flatley said.

The need for a project is getting dire, he said.

I don’t have to tell you that a lot changes in 50 years,” he said, adding the headquarters building can’t accommodate the department’s needs. “Now it’s getting to be at the breaking point for space and for improvements.”

According to Chief Flatley’s presentation, the state Department of Corrections recently evaluated the building’s holding areas for arrestees. He warned the evaluation would show “violations,” such as not having attendants watching the prisoners or having separate holding areas for men and women.

The department also lacks interview rooms, and now has to interview victims of crimes at a table in the lobby, Chief Flatley added.

“That has to be addressed soon,” he said. The building also has a “very small” evidence room, which can smell bad due to a lack of ventilation in the room. Other parts of headquarters are used for storage of old case files that haven’t been or can’t be digitized.

“Every space is accounted for in headquarters,” he said.

The chief’s solution is to hire a company to evaluate the building and suggest an extension that could solve the problems. He said a two-story addition in the front of the property could be used for administrative and detective offices as well as record storage, freeing up other parts of the building.

That company would be able to provide a price for the various improvements, he said.

“Sounds like a good place to start,” said Councilwoman Jill Doherty.

Town Supervisor Scott Russell said the discussion about the headquarters was unrelated to previous complaints about the department’s radio system and its dispatch room. He said the issue of a lack of space was felt throughout town buildings; the town’s justice court has also needed an upgrade for years due to a lack of storage areas.

“This is something that has to be done,” Mr. Russell said, referring to the police department building. Chief Flatley said he’ll meet with the town’s engineers to come up with a rough idea of what to build and will come back before the board in two weeks to update them on his progress.

Photo caption: Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley speaks before the Town Board at its meeting Tuesday morning. Mr. Flatley said the police department’s headquarters needs a serious upgrade due to space concerns.

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