Police request new building

Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - The Amherst Police Department may be in the market for a new home.

Chief Charles Rushton presented his department's operational and capital budget to the board of police commissioners during its February session and it includes a request for a new $3.5-million facility to replace the building the department has occupied since 1996.

"We asked for $3.5-million to build a new facility to service the police department," Rushton said following the meeting. "We would recognize that from an operational perspective the existing facility no longer meets our needs. We would be seeking the funds from council to provide a building for the membership that is adequate for the operational requirements of policing in Amherst."

When the department moved into its present quarters 13 years ago it was a renovation project of a former shoe store. At the time it was felt renovating an older building would be more cost-effective than building a new building at a time when the town was experiencing tough financial times.

Rushton understands the economic circumstances aren't ripe for a new building, but he was asked by council to complete an assessment of the existing building and make recommendations.

"There are deficiencies. The building, although initially designed for a policing service, was a renovation and obviously in a renovation you can't always accommodate the operational requirements of a business," the chief said. "In essence we were making changes two to three months after moving in.

"Obviously, it's too small and that hinders our operational requirements."

The recommendation will go forward from police commission to town council, although it's unknown when the town will be in a position to replace the building with a new structure.

Board chair Ray Gallant supports Rushton's request.

"It's something we have already identified," Gallant said. "We'll be working with the chief and the town to try to make this happen."

The cost quoted by Rushton is based on similar-sized buildings built in Bridgewater and Kentville.

Rushton said members of the police commission and town council will tour the existing facility to see what officers are working with every day.

In total, the chief is requesting an overall budget increase of $645,000, most of which will be taken up by salary increases under the collective agreement..

The capital budget also includes requests for new Tasers, in-car cameras and communications equipment.


Organizations: Amherst Police Department

Geographic location: AMHERST, Bridgewater, Kentville

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Recent comments

  • RCMP Yes
    January 18, 2010 - 11:14

    I support looking at the Mounties. They have a new station, well trained, and probably more to offer in terms of IT systems and databases. I'm certain we can structure an agreement on the # of officers on duty per shift, etc,etc. What is wrong with looking at options. It is my tax dollar, and I want it spent responsibly.

    Town Councilors, do the job you were elected to do. Challenge the status quo and represent the people. Do not hesitate to challenge; it is your job.

    Why wasn't this an election issue, Mr. Small?

  • Cumberland Boy
    January 18, 2010 - 11:13

    I live in the County and we are so called policed by the rcmp. I have called them several times to report incidents / crimes and they have not shown up and one time they phoned back an hour later to see if the drunk driver got his car out of the ditch. Stay with your own police force Amherst you'll be glad you did.

  • Amherst Taxpayer
    January 18, 2010 - 11:08

    Are you serious? $3.5 MILLION Amherst taxpayers dollars for the APD to have a shiny new station? I have to wonder if Chief Rushton has picked up a paper or watched the news lately? Im sure if he did he would realize that our economy isnt doing so well. I know the chief states the current police station is too small and that hinders our operational requirements. Guess what Chief Rushton?? We are at a time when a lot of ppl can barely afford to pay their rent or mortages and can barely afford to put food on the table or a tank of gas in their car to get to their job! Well I have a lot of trouble as a taxpayer forking over my hard earned money right now to see a new $3.5 MILLION station for the APD and agree that maybe our town should look to get a proposal from the RCMP.
    What exactly is the current location that was renovated for the police only 12 yrs ago missing?? What would we the taxpayer get for our $3.5 Million?? Better protection?? A couple more cells or interview rooms?? Or maybe its a new lunch room or a bigger private gym for the APD to use?? If its a couple of new rooms you need then IM SURE you could do a small ad on to your current location for a lot less that your millions you want to spend!!
    Oh yaand to top it off the chief wants $645 000 added to the yearly operational budget of the APDmost of which is for pay increases!! Sounds to me like more tax dollars are about to be ripped out of our pockets to cover those raises! I sure hope the town council think long and hard on this one after their tour of the current station.

    I have an idea.maybe the APD will hold off on their big raises and use the $645 000 budget increase to cover the cost of the new building?? Considering most of the APD dont even live or pay taxes in this town it would be a nice way to give back to us town folk who pay their wages. YAPROBABLY NOT!!!

  • Gas man
    January 18, 2010 - 11:08

    The other article here says Amherst wants to get serious about redeveloping downtown. Perhaps a new police station may help do just that. I like Peter's post about tapping federal infrastructure funding for this. I know there is federal funding for using green building technology. Instead of complaining lets look at the opportunities for funding and give the police the tools they need.

  • Kris
    January 18, 2010 - 11:07

    Anyone who has actually been inside this station, or has worked in it, as I have, will realize that it has outlived its time as a police station. There is inadequate space to perform daily activities of a police force, and could drastically be improved from a quality perspective with more space. With regards to people putting down the police force, show me a force that has not had any controversy! RCMP do a decent job, and APD does just as good of a job. Do you not think that policies and procedures are monitored? I find it hard to believe that a lay person is a police force task expert with operational and procedural management. The current building has not nearly enough cells, and when those are full and prisoners are placed in RCMP cells, taxpayers pay directly for that usage. Disengage your negative social ties from APD and realize that this matter will be solved democratically, and the facts are that APD is in need of a new station, and there are no valid reasons why this should not occur!

  • RCMP make a proposal
    January 18, 2010 - 11:07

    RCMP just built a new building from tax payer dollars. Engage discussions on contracting out the service. Councillors, do the work you were elected to do, and ask for a proposal from the RCMP. I do not want my taxes to pay for 2 police stations less than 5 miles away.

    Save 3.5M, and bring in the mounties.

  • Troll
    January 18, 2010 - 11:05

    The Town's of Kentville and Bridgewater have smaller police forces then we do and both have new modern police stations. The way the law is police need proper facilities to work on investigations. If these other Towns can do this then we should be able to get a proper police building for our officers to keep up their good work.

  • Bizarro
    January 18, 2010 - 10:58

    It's really hard to say what the police force in amherst needs. I have never been in their facility, I do not understand all aspects of what they do, or what they need to protect and serve our town.

    I believe their was an article not to long ago talking about how much the crime rate has dropped from 2007 in a number of different categories. If this is the trend and they can prove that this new facilty can drop these numbers even further, I would support that. Then as a community we can hold them accoutable for the results.

  • Fuzzy
    January 18, 2010 - 10:48

    Sometimes it seems like people just can't resist poking the sleeping lion. With the state of our economy and the frustration level being felt by all Canadian taxpayers to make an request like this says a lot about the people we have in charge of our PD.
    However folks there is another line of logic here. As many of you know that when you work for a large corporation and budget time comes around in order to get what you really want -the raises- you ask for the moon and several other planets as well. Once your bosses go over your request's and see the exorbitant prices for all the other things on your wish list....a mere $650 G's a year doesn't seem that much. They really do want to give you someting. Maybe our chief is smarter than the fox!!!

  • Jack on the rocks
    January 18, 2010 - 10:48

    Yeah, that's right.Bring in the RCMP.Then let's wait for the whiners to come out of the closet when they call for help at night and have to wait for them to get out of bed and dressed before they can leave the house when they are on duty.That should give ya all something to talk about in the future.

  • juanita
    January 18, 2010 - 10:42

    The building there are in is quite new and there is nothing wrong with it! The town wants a new school, and is having a hard time getting it, and the police, that do not need a new building, gets what they want?
    Some things never change.....

  • against new
    January 18, 2010 - 10:42

    OMG!! That's crazy! The building looks fine! What are they doing?? Trying to take all the taxpayers money and make ANOTHER VACANT building downtown!?? They need something bigger? RENOVATE the OLD VACANT police station!

  • Jack
    January 18, 2010 - 10:36

    One of the things we need is a good solid police force and they need adequate facilities. Period, end of story.

    The $3.5M cost of the building is amortized over several years. The existing building carries fixed and variable costs which in reality probably exceed the current costs of the building they occupy now.

    Want the Mounties? Great idea, but drive over to Sackville some Saturday night and see how many RCMP are on patrol. You're gonna see one or two.

    Yes, we'd get a lower cost, but you get what you pay for.

    Want Amherst to be safe and secure? We need to maintain our police force.

  • peter
    January 18, 2010 - 10:34

    Perhaps there is a way for the town to get a new police station without increasing taxes for the rate payers. It was announced a few weeks ago of the billions that the federal government will be giving municipalities for infrastructure. A new police station, to replace a bldg that is to small, should fall under this program. As long as our municipal government works on this right a way, and in close contact with the elected MP for this riding, this should be able to be done.

  • Citizen
    January 18, 2010 - 10:30

    You guys want the truth on the RCMP service and Jack McDougal just gave it to you.Look how many times Moncton has gone back and forth with the police and RCMP.Do you even consider the cost factors of switching over as well as the limited coverage.As far as the officers not residing here and paying taxes, 95% of them do live here and in matter of fact some of them are from this town. They have chosen to stay here and give back to the town in which they have grown up in.Some of these OFFICERS AND THEIR FAMALIES have very well established roots here.As far as a new station, it is well deserved and needed.You want more services to deal with a wider variety of crimes such as our ever growing drug problem,you need space to put people in.We should be supporting our Department instead of picking at every little thing.

  • mary
    January 18, 2010 - 10:29

    Yeah, what ever happened to financial restraints. It seems like - the stores are building bigger places so we need a bigger police station???? Like the other comment, THIS money comes out of our pockets. Take a vote and see what the people of Amherst think about this.