Weston police are operating in far too cramped quarters, according to a space needs assessment report.
Brian Humes of Jacunski Humes Architects LLC of Berlin, who prepared the report, said the department needs three times the space it currently occupies.
Mr. Humes was hired by the town earlier this year to evaluate the space needs for the police department and the communications center.
He presented the first phase of his evaluation — the needs assessment — to the Police Commission at a meeting on Tuesday, May 7.
The needs assessment is not a “wish list,” Mr. Humes said. It was based on the size of the police and communications departments, anticipated personnel growth, town population, and call volume.
In the first phase, Mr. Humes analyzed the current conditions for occupants or users of the space: members of the public, staff, and detainees.
At this point, Mr. Humes said, he is not offering space solutions or recommendations. The next phases of the plan will involve site evaluations, schematic designs, including the creation of floor plans, and detailed cost estimates.
Mr. Humes explained that the police and communications departments currently occupy 5,805 square feet of space. To operate efficiently, he said they need 15,782 square feet of working space, three times the present amount.
His estimate took into account an expected small population decline in Weston in the next 20 years, a small growth in police and communications personnel, and a small increase in emergency call volume.
The main reason for increasing the workspace, he said, is because many current areas are just too small. His report noted a general lack of space in the following areas:
• Communications Dispatch Center
• police vestibule entry way
• public access interview room
• training rooms
• classrooms and meeting rooms
• prisoner processing area
• firearms room
• sally port (the space where police vehicles pull in and drop off prisoners)
• evidence, property, equipment, and found property storage
• IT coordinator/data equipment
• office areas
• mechanical and custodial areas
• copy room
• road supply storage
• locker rooms
He also noted there were safety and code issues that need to be addressed, such as a lack of public toilets and the need to make toilets handicapped accessible.
A 15,782-square-foot workspace should last the town 50 years, Mr. Humes said.
His firm has done space needs assessment for about 40 police facilities throughout Connecticut, including ones in Danbury, Darien, Monroe, and Redding.
He said the Darien Police Department doubled the size of its facility, and went from 19,000 to 38,000 square feet based on his report.
The Police Commission will review the report and plan to discuss it at its next meeting.