Police & Fire

Shelter Sought for North Salem Police Vehicles

North Salem's police chief says the need of a garage for police vehicles is a matter of protecting taxpayers' investment. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik

NORTH SALEM, N.Y.--While members of the Police Department have found a new home in a former highway garage on June Road, its fleet of seven vehicles has not. Chief of Police Thomas Howley is working with the town to correct that.

“We’re just looking for a place to house those vehicles safely so we can do our job,” Howley said.

With the Building Department’s recent move from an old trailer behind 66 June Road to the renovated 1848 town hall building formerly known as the Lobdell store, the 11-year-old-trailer can be removed. After that there will be space for a garage to house the police vehicles.

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Howley said the vehicles are currently parked at Town Hall, but are at the mercy of the elements, which “isn’t great for the vehicles,” especially in the winter, Lucas said. Howley added that removing snow in the winter is also time-consuming.

Until 2015, the department operated out of several buildings.The move marked the first time all police department operations were able to be carried out under one roof. Then, the vehicles were parked right outside of their "headquarters," at Town Hall, Howley said. 

In a preliminary discussion at the Town Board’s July 11 meeting, Howley discussed the intentions of the proposed project.

"My concern is, as I told the board before, the vehicles don’t belong to me— they belong to you," Howley said. "You purchased them through the town's taxes and I'm just trying to safeguard those vehicles because, God forbid, something happens to those vehicles, the Police Department is pretty much out of business. We need the vehicles to patrol the community."

The board discussed the construction of  a garage on the hill behind 66 June Road to house the vehicles.

"The building will be a steel building, about 100 feet by 24 feet, with five 16-foot-wide bays," Lucas said. "It will hold some Department of Public Works tractors and our police cars."The project is in the initial stages, both Lucas and Howley said.

"There is a small building there now and also a large pile of rock," Lucas said. " Once we get a better idea of what it is going to be, I will get the town engineer involved to do a site plan we can use for approvals."

Before the town engineer, James Hahn of Hahn Engineering, becomes involved, the next step is for Ward Hanaburgh, superintendent of highways, to examine the site and determine how much of the site preparation can be done in-house, Lucas said.

Under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), an environmental report will be conducted prior to the start of any work. Once a site plan is approved, it can be put out to bid.The anticipated cost of the project is about $170,000, but Lucas and Howley said they cannot be certain in the early stages what the final cost will be.

The steel building runs about $50,000 itself, Lucas said. However, the engineering, site preparation, materials and wages will add to the cost. Electrical work will also be necessary.

"The method of payment has not been determined yet," Lucas said. "The town has sufficient money to pay for it, but we also have roads to pave, which we are doing also this year."


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