Stories of 2019: Decade-old problem of where to house New Ipswich police station 

  • The New Ipswich Police Department is located in a rented facility on Turnpike Road. Ledger-Transcript file photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/25/2019 1:47:35 PM

This year, voters were unenthusiastic about a proposal to purchase the Police Department building and renovate it. However, a different plan to permanently house the town’s officers will be before them again in March.

The issue of the Police Department isn’t new for the town of New Ipswich. The department moved into rented facilities more than a decade ago after the town-owned Building No. 2 was vacated due to a black mold infestation.

The town has been seeking a permanent solution on and off since, and has been making a more concentrated effort the past several years, when the building housing the department went on the market.

In addition, Select Board members and Police Chief Tim Carpenter say the building is not – and never has been – an ideal situation.

There is no holding area, for example, just a bench where detainees can be handcuffed. There is only one entrance, meaning arrestees are brought through the same holding area where members of the public, or even their alleged victims, may be filling out reports or interacting with the secretary. There isn’t sufficient storage space, with equipment stored in the office of the department’s ranking officer. There is also no covered garage for the department’s cruisers, meaning they have to be nearly constantly running in the winter to keep them ready to respond to calls immediately.

Those problems persist, as does the town’s preference to permanently own its police facilities.

This year, the town proposed a plan to buy the building itself, vacate the other tenants and renovate the entirety of the building, plus building an addition to house a garage.

The warrant asked for a $700,000 bond, and to use $500,000 of the town’s unexpended fund balance to pay for the project. Because it was a bond request, by law the article would have needed a two-thirds majority to pass, but it didn’t even gain a simple majority, with a 392-494 vote.

The Select Board has decided to try again this year, with a plan they first proposed in 2017 – a newly constructed station, built behind the current town offices after tearing down the old Building No. 2.

In 2017, the proposal would have cost $1.98 million. That measure also failed to gain traction with the voters, failing by an even wider margin than the 2019 plan, turned down by a vote of 256-557. 

The Select Board expect to revive that proposal to put back before the voters in March. The exact specifications of the warrant – such as how much would be bonded and how much, if any funds would come from the unexpended fund balance – have yet to be decided, according to Select Board member John Veeser.

However, in the next month, residents will be able to get a clearer picture of the final proposal, as the Select Board intends to hold at least one information session dedicated to the Police Department issue, in addition to a bond hearing. 

“We’ll do both,” Veeser said. “And get as much information as possible out there.”


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT. 


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