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Dublin

Chief outlines station’s needs

Temporary prison, booking room among proposed facility renovations

  • Dublin Police Chief Stephen Sullivan shows the facilities at the Dublin Police Department.
  • Dublin Police Chief Stephen Sullivan shows the facilities at the Dublin Police Department.
  • Dublin Police Chief Stephen Sullivan shows the facilities at the Dublin Police Department.
  • Dublin Police Chief Stephen Sullivan shows the facilities at the Dublin Police Department.
  • Dublin Police Chief Stephen Sullivan shows the facilities at the Dublin Police Department.
  • Dublin Police Chief Stephen Sullivan shows the facilities at the Dublin Police Department.
  • Dublin Police Chief Stephen Sullivan shows the facilities at the Dublin Police Department.
  • Dublin Police Chief Stephen Sullivan shows the facilities at the Dublin Police Department.
  • Dublin Police Chief Stephen Sullivan shows the facilities at the Dublin Police Department.

DUBLIN — The Dublin Police Department moved to a building at 1122 Main St. 12 years ago. Ever since, Dublin resident and Budget Committee member Nancy Campbell has been opposed to that location housing the station.

“The property is just too small for the Police Department,” Campbell said at a Select Board meeting earlier this month.

Since Chief Stephen Sullivan went to the Select Board to propose improvements in the facilities at the station, questions have been raised about whether the building is actually spacious enough to serve the needs of the department.

A red wooden house with a white sign and less than half-a-dozen parking spots near the Dublin Library and the Town Hall serves as base for Sullivan, Officers Tim Suokko and Dan Cheshire as well as administrative assistant Vira Elder.

The station has a main floor and a basement. The main floor has a two offices, a hall without a door where officers conduct interrogations with both prisoners and victims, one communal bathroom and a lobby. The basement currently serves as a storage area.

Sullivan asked the Select Board to analyze the possibility of building a temporary prison, a booking room, a prisoner’s bathroom and a secured entryway in the basement of the police station at the June 9 Select Board meeting. “We have our administrative assistant Vira sitting in the room with the people we arrest. There is a lot of risk involved. It would be a lot safer to have the prisoners enter through the basement area and never come upstairs,” Sullivan told the Select Board.

For Sullivan, these additions to the facility would reduce risk and improve police service. He said not having a temporary prison jeopardizes safety. “We usually don’t bring non-complaint people to the station, but we can’t be sure they are not going to become non-complaint when they are here,” Sullivan said in an interview Tuesday. Sullivan recalled seeing initially well-behaved prisoners become violent in the middle of the arraignment process. ”They are not happy to be here and they become violent. If they are just sitting in the room, what do we do?” Sullivan said.

Another concern Sullivan brought up is the shared bathroom. For him, not having restrooms specifically for prisoner use could become a health issue. “Not everyone that is arrested has diseases or uses drugs, but some do. I personally hate having to use the same bathroom,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said he believes research needs to be done before deciding how the facilities can be improved.

“Can [renovations] be done with the soil? What can be done with the property boundaries? That would take somebody that knows about the subject to determine that. I am not that person,” Sullivan said.

He suggested officials do an analysis of the property lines and address possible renovations.

“I can tell you what law-enforcement-wise I think we need, but to actually accomplish it, that’s not me,” Sullivan said.

Regarding the size of the Police Department, Sullivan said he would like town officials to conduct a community survey that would express residents’ needs and preferences regarding police service.

“If the community wants the police service that they currently have, then that is what we will provide. If they want a full-time department, I think my job is to explain what it’s going to take to provide that service,” Sullivan said.

The Dublin Police Department currently provides part-time service. “We are not staffed to provide full-time service. We are completely unequipped to handle that kind of service. You can’t do that with three full-time police officers. We are 40-hour employees,” Sullivan said.

Select Board Chair Sterling Abram said during the board’s meeting with Sullivan on June 9 that a community survey might put off some residents. “I am not against the idea, but I think that some people will consider it intrusive,” Abram said.

Abram also stated that there has been an ongoing discuss in the town about having full-time or part-time police coverage.

“There is a portion of the population that would be comfortable with having more coverage and there is a section that is happy with what we have now,” Abram said.

Sullivan explained that department staff works to extend the resources they have and responds to most of the calls for service within a reasonable timeframe. “We work around things, I’m not saying that we won’t respond to a call, we will come, but with the way our department is set up right now, you might have to wait hours for us to get somebody there,” Sullivan said.

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