Town board reviews plan to expand police facilities


See slideshow in “Read more” or in Photo Gallery for views of police station interior
October 3, 2008
by Christine Yeres

In the town board’s work session on September 16, board members looked over a plan to house the New Castle Police Department in a 22,000 square foot two-story addition to town hall, a bit more space than the existing 19,000 sq. ft. town hall. The addition would be set at an angle at the back of the existing building and connected to it. The playground behind it would be displaced by added parking spaces and a connecting driveway cut-through to the train station parking lot.

New Castle’s current police station occupies a space of about 5,000 sq. ft., three-fifths of the ground floor of town hall. Two thirds of the police station space—the main desk, holding cells, an armory, break room, offices and garage – is on one side of the main lobby.  The other third is down a public hallway from the lobby and contains more offices, storage space and mechanicals. The Recreation and Parks Department takes up the remaining two-fifths of the first floor. On Thursday nights, the second floor assembly room,  becomes a packed courtroom. 


Current conditions


When the building was constructed in the early 1970’s, the department made about 60 arrests in a year. The number of arrests per year is now 200. About half of those are “field” arrests, the other half are of people brought in to headquarters for processing or to await arraignment. There are two cells at headquarters. 

New Castle’s police force has 42 full time officers and nine civilian employees - two secretaries, an animal control officer, parking enforcement officers and school crossing guards. By way of comparison, New Castle’s population is 17,500 spread over 23.2 square miles; Pleasantville’s is about 7,200 in a little less than two square miles with a police force of about 24; Mt. Kisco’s population of 10,500 in about three square miles has a 35 member police force; and Scarsdale, with the same population as New Castle, but within only 6.6 square miles, has a force of 45 officers. 


Needs assessment conducted in 2003

Lt. Charles Ferry was point person for the police department on the needs assessment study conducted by an architect in 2003, and revisited since. The study calculated that the department should have about 13,000 sq. ft. in which to operate and its architect worked up a program showing how it might be accomplished. Over the years, Ferry and others have paid visits to other towns’ police departments to see what kind of space they have and how it is laid out. They visited Ossining’s new police station, but its population is double that of New Castle. They may have found a good match, though, in Clinton, Connecticut, a station designed by the current consultant to New Castle’s town board on the project, JCJ Architects.

The JCJ Architects’ plan for the two story building for the New Castle police department shows offices, meeting rooms and holding cells; a courtroom on the second floor; and, on the first floor, a 4,000 sq. ft. space for possible use by the Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps that includes four emergency vehicle garage bays facing Washington Avenue.

 

More than a year ago, in March 2007, the town board discussed an early JCJ plan in a work session. At that time two options were shown, both costing around $15 million.  No price tag has been attached to the most recent iteration of the plan. Supervisor Barbara Gerrard acknowledged that these were fiscally challenging times, but said that even in the worst of times, some things have to be done and suggested that if the board were to go forward, the police expansion would most likely be bonded over ten or 20 years. 



Pink rectangle is existing town hall building; police addition is on left


First floor plan


Second floor plan


Pointing out current location of playground behind town hall

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