Sykesville Police Gain A Little Elbow Room

September 11, 1991|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Staff writer

SYKESVILLE — A chair and a pair of handcuffs serve as a "holding cell" for suspects.

If a suspect must be restrained physically, problems mount in the town's one-room police office.

"We've had a couple of times when people had to be restrained andthings have gotten knocked over and rearranged," Chief Wallace P. Mitchell said. "Our primary concern is a holding area where we could place people for the safety of the person and of the officer."

The tiny office also is short of storage space for equipment and files, some of which are kept in the police chief's office upstairs.

To alleviate the cramped conditions for the five-member police force, Mitchell, Town Manager James L. Schumacher and a four-member Facilities Committee have proposed renovating the old maintenance shop behind the Town House for use as police headquarters.

Mitchell and Schumacherrequested approval of the move and permission to obtain bids for theremodeling work at Monday night's council meeting.

The council gave unanimous go-ahead.

"Now we can draw up plans for the remodeling and get estimates on the work," Mitchell said. "We're hoping to seewhat we can do by next year, depending on what it's going to cost and if we can get funding."

Renovations to the maintenance shop include:

* A handicapped-accessible restroom.

* Interior construction of holding cells, offices, restrooms, waiting area and reception/clerical staff area.

* Plumbing/heating (natural gas) installation.

* Electrical wiring.

* Furnishing and supplies.

* Site improvements (lighting, signs, parking).

* Exterior improvements, including removal of bay door and reconstruction of front wall, new rear entrance and covering exterior with stucco-type material.

The group looked at other buildings in town and a new facility, but the maintenance shop was the most feasible, Mitchell said.

"The maintenanceshop is about 1,500 square feet, which would give us more room to work in," Mitchell said.

The council was concerned that it would be losing $500 a month rent from the maintenance building, but Schumacher said the person who had rented it over the summer has backed out ofhis lease, making the building available.

State Aid for Police, which normally pays part of the cost for police service, may be able to help pay for the project, Mitchell said. But no decisions will be made until cost estimates are in.

Last spring, the council put $6,500 in its fiscal 1992 capital budget for the police station, but $6,000 of that was to have come from a year's rent on the maintenance building, which is now lost.

Council President Kenneth W. Clark said the council could look at the capital budget for money, perhaps from other projects.

Schumacher will advertise for bids on the renovations and report to the council on cost estimates.

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