Local Police to host a public meeting for feedback on a possible new facility
by Sandy Lindsay

July 18, 2016
www.saugeentimes.com

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Saugeen Shores police station was built some 16 years ago and, to the consternation of the police Chief of the time, it was built far too small with little foresight for the future.

Today, Saugeen Shores Police Service is paying the price.  The service members work in cramped quarters with little room for officers, their equipment,  vital records and seizures and training facilities.

In 1999, the station was built at a cost $760,000 and 40 per cent too small, despite input from the Chief of the day, Paul Brown.

Walking through the station, the lack of space is obvious.  Entering the station's front door, the first thing noticed are ceiling tiles that are blown out and, according to staff, it's because of a vacuum affect when the front door opens. There was only a sliding glass window between the front office staff and those entering the station until Chief Dan Rivett had the lack of security remedied by installing a solid pane of glass.

Tiles blow out as the front door opens ...

Police Chief's office

The Police Chief's office is much like a storage room.  "There are items that we have to have retain but there is no room for them," says Chief Dan Rivett, "so here they are."

Shredding of 'secure' documents are done sporadically

One of the worst for space, and yet one of the most vital rooms, is the 'Forensic evidence' space.   In a small room, that is basically a small kitchen with a sink, vital forensic DNA evidence has to be retrieved from victims which is to be done in the most hygienic environment ... in this room, it is almost impossible.

Overcrowding of equipment is a problem

"We have reached what I feel is the tipping point where our members cannot continue to function in this facility and I don't want to leave it for the next Chief to solve," says Chief Rivett.  "We aren't just concerned about administrative space, there are far more serious issues here.  We have a lack of a secure prisoner interview space where our civilian employees are not compromised, there's a lack of privacy and a lack of a safe prisoner transfer area in the garage.  There is also mold and lack of storage for weapons such as stun guns.  The list goes on and many of the items do not meet Ministry requirements."

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Chief Dan Rivett shows the training room

The training room with digital equipment is little more than a 'broom closet' with wires and electronics everywhere.  It also serves a dual purpose of a visual observance room with one-way glass to the questioning room.

"There's no doubt that this comes down to dollars," says Chief Rivett, "but the more we put this off, the more it will cost.  If we had spent the little extra 16 years ago, we wouldn't be in this situation today."

This year alone will cost the town $225,000 to rectify the the HVAC (Heating and Cooling) system.  "Until this is done, staff are bringing in their own portable heaters.  In addition, the four cells can be so cold that we have to provide blankets and heaters which are not only safety liabilities, they are also against regulation."

"Would I Iike to see a new police station? Absolutely.  Are there options we can look at?  Maybe.  But we have to do something.  The community is growing and along with development comes a need for more intensive policing.  If we build a new station, we can utilize this existing building for other town purposes.  Whatever the solution ... we have to find one."

Police Chief Dan Rivett has invited the public to arrange tours of the police facility over the past several weeks ... unfortunately, few have taken advantage.

There will however, be a public consultation meeting on Wednesday, July 20th at the Plex in Port Elgin at 7:00 p.m. ... all the public is invited for feedback.


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