New $3.2M Sandwich Police Department open and operational, as police chief completes 10-year goal

The new Sandwich Police Station Monday, Jan. 9, 2023.

The Sandwich Police Department staff finished moving into their new station last month and the department now is running nearly all operations out of the facility.

Police Chief James Bianchi said the station has been one of his top priorities since coming to the city in 2013 and he is very happy with the way it has turned out.

The station, at 1251 E. Sixth St., once housed a custom stair manufacturer and was purchased by the city in 2016 for about $500,000. To finance the necessary renovations, the city sold $3.2 million in bonds, which will be repaid over a 20-year period.

The station has between 12,000 and 14,000 square feet of floor space and sits on a 2-acre site. The station boasts more than twice the floor space of the former station at 308 East College St., which had served as the department’s headquarters since the early 1970s.

Besides all the extra space, the former station had problems with heating and air conditioning, plumbing and mold. The new station provides the police department with far better technology and updated utilities, according to the department.

The front door of the building enters into the lobby, which is outfitted with a waiting room, restrooms and ballistic-proof reinforcements.

The lobby at the new Sandwich police station at 1251 E. Sixth St. has a waiting area with seating and restrooms, and is equipped with ballistic proof reinforcement.

On the building’s east side, a “bullpen” area for the patrol officers is set up with cubicles and a large, round table for daily briefings. Detectives have their own bullpen-style room near the center of the building.

The station will offer major enhancements to the department’s security capabilities, both in the station and around the city.

Bianchi said there are three new security systems: video surveillance and security, evidence and detention, and interviewing. Each of these functions is controlled by a separate computer system inside the station.

The entire station is monitored by security cameras that can only be accessed inside the station. Now, police also can monitor cameras set up at City Hall, the municipal sewer plant, the water plant and the street department.

Sandwich Police Chief James Bianchi demonstrating the new security monitoring capabilities equipped at the new police department at 1251 E. Sixth St. in Sandwich.

Monitors on the wall in the officers’ bullpen show a live view of each of those sites around the city, and monitors in the reception office show the feed from the station’s security cameras.

The evidence lockup and detention area is a major upgrade from the old station, which Bianchi said was protected by only a door.

Bianchi said the lockup area at the new facility is designed to flow with the booking process and will make the process much more secure, as doors throughout the station are reinforced and can be opened only with both a key fob and an access code.

Two interview rooms are outfitted with two-way mirrors and a video monitoring system for recording and evidence retention. Bianchi said before now his detectives have had to use a camcorder on a tripod to conduct interviews.

A multipurpose room near the west wing of the building will be used for meetings, training and, in times of emergency, as a command center for many of the area’s law enforcement agencies.

Bianchi said Emergency Management Agency Director Tom Ciciora eventually will have an office in the station to run the city’s emergency services.

The west wing of the facility is outfitted as a locker room and equipped with personal changing rooms and showers. Plenty of space was left near the lockers for the future installation of a gym.

On top of all the station’s features and amenities, Bianchi said one of the best things the facility gives his department is room for growth.

The building has several offices and conference rooms that are not currently occupied, as well as nearly 2 acres of space for expansion.

Bianchi said there are plans for a garage to be constructed on the north side of the building that would connect to the main building near the detention and lockup areas.

Currently, the department’s vehicles and evidence are still being housed at the old station on College Street. Vehicle storage, detention and evidence lockup are the only functions still performed at the former station.

The booking and detention area at the new Sandwich police station at 1251 E. Sixth St. is a major upgrade from the former station.

Bianchi said the only important work left to be done is the transfer of secure data lines from the former station to the new one, which has to be done by the state, to allow for the use of the detention and evidence lockup at the new facility.

After that, all that will be left is minor improvements. There is still some painting to do, minor things such as window tinting and landscaping when the ground thaws, but Bianchi said his department should now be set for the next 50 years of growth.

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