Groundbreaking is tomorrow for state police barracks Westminster replacement to cost $3 million

May 17, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

State and local officials will break ground tomorrow for a Maryland State Police barracks in Westminster.

A one-story, 11,900-square-foot facility will replace the existing barracks, state police said. The $3 million project could be completed by summer 1999.

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. David B. Mitchell are expected to attend the 11 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony at the barracks at 1100 Baltimore Blvd.

The new barracks will include a 4,200-square-foot garage, and will be built slightly west of the existing facility, said Lt. Leonard M. Armstrong, commander of the Westminster barracks. After its replacement is completed, the old building will be torn down to make way for a Motor Vehicle Administration office.

The current three-story barracks was built in 1960, and none of the hundreds of troopers who have worked there in 38 years will miss the stairs, Armstrong said.

The design and layout of the new building will be similar to the barracks completed last year in Bel Air, but larger.

With its resident trooper program, Carroll County has the state's largest state police operation -- about 100 troopers and civilian staff members. The barracks handled more than 41,000 calls last year.

The resident trooper program, which costs Carroll taxpayers $3.4 million annually, operates under an agreement with the state to provide countywide law enforcement, investigative services and

assistance to five municipal police forces and the county Sheriff's Department.

The new facility is designed to provide flexibility for the troopers who make the most service calls in the state, Armstrong said.

Duty officers will no longer be squeezed into the same room with police communications officers, Armstrong said.

VTC Duty officers will be stationed near two holding cells for adult prisoners and two interview rooms that will double as holding areas for juvenile prisoners, who must be separated by sight and sound from adult prisoners, he said.

The communications room will be three times larger than the present 10-by-12-foot area, and background conversations will no longer be accidentally transmitted by radio, he said.

The facility will have a large conference room off the main lobby that can be sealed off from the rest of the barracks for security purposes.

"Community groups or organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, may use the conference room without interfering with [law enforcement] operations," Armstrong said.

The new barracks also will contain limited sleeping facilities for troopers who stay over rather than commute home in bad weather, he said.

Another benefit will be space for an archives room, Armstrong said.

"We have no such room now, and we'll also have a polygraph room with a two-way mirror," he said. "We have no private room for administering polygraph tests now."

Pub Date: 5/17/98

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