NORTH ADAMS, Mass. - The North Adams police force is operating out of a new temporary headquarters at the site of the the former juvenile court. They say the building they were in for almost 70 years had its fair share of issues, including being out of compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
What You Need To Know
- The North Adams Police Department, except for their dispatch unit, is operating out of a new temporary headquarters
- The department expects to be in the newly renovated site of the former juvenile court for a few years until a new building for North Adams police an fire is constructed
- Money for this project comes from ARPA funds and an investment from local landlord David Carver of Scarafoni & Associates
- Construction on the new space at 21 Holden Street began on December 3, 2022
Mayor Jennifer Macksey said their new space offers a better experience for everyone who enters the police headquarters.
“When we currently arrest individuals who are disabled or have some mobility, we have to carry them into our current police station," Macksey said, speaking about the old station. "That no longer will be. People can adequately access the front door as well as when they're being processed through booking.”
In a tour of the police department’s new temporary home Wednesday, Macksey highlighted the many areas where the much larger space contrasts from their old station.
The new headquarters has features such as a public lobby, ADA compliant holding cells with access to drinking water, new secuirty and storage for evidence, men's and women's locker rooms for officers, a laundry room, and a large meeting room where the city plans to host community events.
Macksey said the motivation to move out of the building which had mold, water leaks and climate control issues became larger than providing a good work environment for officers.
“Most importantly, providing in an environment where our customers and our community members can come in and safely visit with an officer, talk with an officer, have some privacy with an officer, to talk about some things that they may not want to share with everyone," Macksey said. "So, it's really a combination of, yes, ADA was driving this, but it's more about community relations and community service.”
“We've been asking this for as long as I've been here," interim chief Mark Bailey said. "We wanted a new building.”
Bailey is in his first week as interim police chief. He’s been with the department for almost 20 years and said he believes the new space is providing a boost in morale for North Adams officers. He hopes changes continue to be made.
“My goal as interim chief is just to get us more out into the community to become more community oriented, because I believe that any police department, their success is registered by your crime rate, not so much how much you arrest people or how much you put people away, but based on crime rate," Bailey said. "I want to bring our crime rate down and the only way that I see us doing that is by getting more involved with the community. So, that's my first goal, to get out in the community.”
Bailey added nother primary goal for him is to make sure the department has better rules, regulations, policy and procedures in place for officers.