With more than 30 officers on the force, the Richard D. Carmean Municipal Building which houses the Milford Police Department has become extremely crowded. As far back as 2012, the City began considering a new police station, going as far as placing an option to buy on a parcel of land across from the current station, but no definitive plans for a station were executed. When the City was offered the Milford Armory by the State of Delaware, there was discussion that the building could be converted to a police station, eliminating the need to build a new one.
“We understand that the prior evaluation of the Armory found that the cost to renovate the building would be approximately the cost of building a new facility,” said Eric Norenberg, City Manager. “There have also been preliminary discussions about converting the old Middle School into a police department, but those renovation costs were also projected as too high.”
Chief Kenneth Brown says there was significant discussion about a new police station in 2012, but the project was never funded and no formal discussions about the police station have taken place since that time. The City did submit a $50,000 deposit to secure land that is owned by Growmark and is located across the street from the current police station. In addition, City Council voted unanimously to permit then Police Chief Keith Hudson to contact the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs to arrange for an archeological search of the property. Because the land is in close proximity to the river, the state requires that such a study be completed as American Indian villages were often located along bodies of water and there is some indication that an Indian burial ground could exist on the property. There is no indication such artifacts were found.
When the recent $40 million budget was approved for the City, there was a $90,000 provision added for an outside consultant. Chief Brown and Mr. Norenberg say that the consultant was not to determine the feasibility of a new police station, but to determine whether the police department has adequate staffing and that staff is allocated appropriately.
“The Department has grown substantially since the current station was built,” Chief Brown said. “There is insufficient space for current operations, including lack of storage space for equipment and evidence. The safety deficiencies of the current building place officers, staff, prisoners and the public at risk. The facility is not in compliance with current laws or standards and the building sits in a floodplain.”
During discussions in 2012, then City Manager, Richard Carmean, said that the building could not be expanded to accommodate the added officers and staff. The building is land and river locked as it sits between the Mispillion River and Northeast Front Street. He said that the City had looked at the possibility of adding additional floors, but the cost would be too prohibitive as the current building was not built for the added weight of additional floors.
No costs have been released for the new police station and City officials have indicated that building a new police station would require a referendum as current funding stands. Although the building is needed, plans to build a new police station are on hold until a funding source can be established. As of now, no consultant has been hired to review the need for a new building.
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