Tolliver expected to push for new Carroll barracks Existing site called 'totally inadequate'

September 01, 1993|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

Westminster may get a new state police barracks by late 1997.

State police Superintendent Larry W. Tolliver, plans to ask for a new barracks for Carroll County in the five-year construction budget request he submits this month to the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Del. Richard N. Dixon, D-Carroll, has been trying for several years to get relief for the crowded Westminster facility. He said Colonel Tolliver told him yesterday that the budget request is being submitted.

The existing barracks, built in 1961, "is totally inadequate. We have the largest number of troopers in Maryland in that barracks," Mr. Dixon said.

The Carroll delegate got money to renovate the Westminster barracks put into a capital budget request several years ago, but it was killed by a legislative committee.

A new barracks will be more cost-effective than renovation because of the wear and tear on the old building, and because of new requirements for handicapped accessibility and lead and asbestos abatement, said Maj. Rodney L. Martin, assistant chief of administrative services for the state police. He said a new barracks would cost about $2.5 million.

The Westminster barracks is 32 years old, but has had the equivalent of 100 years of use because it is open 24 hours a day, Major Martin said.

Lt. Roy Neigh, the Westminster barracks commander, said the building "was definitely not built to accommodate 92 people," the number of troopers and civilian employees now assigned there.

Lieutenant Neigh said the police have used all the available space. A former second-floor dormitory and the third-floor attic have been converted to offices, and records storage space is very crowded, he said.

"This is the busiest and most heavily staffed barracks in the state," Lieutenant Neigh said.

Carroll is the only county in the state with a Resident Trooper Program, which allows state police to handle crime as well as traffic. The program adds 44 resident troopers to the barracks, for a total of about 80. A standard contingent at other barracks statewide is about 50.

The Westminster barracks handles about 100 calls a day. The majority are crime-related, Lieutenant Neigh said.

The new barracks probably would be built on the Route 140 property east of Westminster where the existing barracks stands, Major Martin said. The standard state police design for new barracks is a one-story structure with 10,000 square feet of floor space, 3,500 more than the Westminster barracks has.

Major Martin said the new building would house modern telecommunications equipment, new holding cells and new processing space, where troopers can prepare evidence for lab tests.

He said that if Colonel Tolliver's proposal makes it through the state budget process, state police will ask for design money in 1995-1996 and construction money in 1996-1997.

But he cautioned that financing is not a sure thing. The state also has major corrections system needs. "We vie for the same money," he said.

He said a barracks takes about a year to build.

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