Littleton's new police station open for business


July 09, 2009
LITTLETON—Not everything is fully functional yet, but the Littleton Police Department is in its new home for good.

"We're grateful to the people of Littleton for providing a new home for their department," said Chief Paul Smith Monday, while going through the recently completed station. "They've provided a place that's safe for public, officers and detainees."

As Smith spoke workers went back and forth throughout the building, continuing to make last minute adjustments to doors, painting, and fine-tuning the cameras and computer system.

The station opened for business a week ago.

Visitors entering the station will be in a small, attractive lobby with a large 600-pound bulletproof window and ricochet resistant metal frame in front of the reception area.

The approximately 9,000 square foot space is a far cry from the department's former home in the old Littleton Hospital on Cottage Street, or the Opera House before that. This building is state of the art, Smith said. Though the actual office space, around 7,000 square feet, is smaller than the old facility, the space saving design allows work to conducted more efficiently.

An example is the location of the various offices. The squad room where the officers do most of their work is in the center of the facility, while along the periphery are support offices such as those belonging to the chief, the prosecutor and the administrative offices that deal with the public.

Access to each area is limited to those who need it and is granted by the use of devices each staff member carries which open doors automatically as they are approached. Officers will not have to fiddle with keys—or even carry them for that matter—as they open doors and navigate their way through the building.

Other cost savings will come from eliminating the duplication of having three copiers for three sections of the station. Now one copy room in the center will allow officers or administrators to use it as needed, Smith said.

Elsewhere in the station, a new evidence room ensures a chain of custody for any evidence collected during a crime. The evidence lockers are of varying size and allow and officer to open them and put evidence in, then lock it by pushing a button. Once that button is pushed the locker can only be opened from the other side, inside the evidence room. Only two officers have keys to that room, Smith said. Even he doesn't.

In the booking and holding area work still continues, as workers and staff struggle to get the place up and running. Some cells, which don't have their doors yet, are being used for storage. The juvenile holding area, the only room in the section of the building in which prisoners will be, is temporarily being as used as the cell and has a locking door for the moment. Normally the door would not lock, as runaways by law cannot be held against their will—until they try to leave the building, at which point they have committed a crime.

The cell has already held its first prisoners, Smith said.

Near the holding cell the sally port was awaiting another coat of paint on the floor. When completed, officers will be able to bring prisoners in from their cruisers under cover with closed garage doors, reducing the possibility of escape, Smith said.

In late July, after signs have been put up and the building finished, a ribbon cutting will be held to celebrate the opening of the new building, which had been in the works on and off for 40 years.

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