The inauguration of the new Belleville police headquarters took place on Saturday morning, 11 months after the police moved in.
“This is something the community has been waiting for a long time,” Belleville Police Chief Mike Callaghan said. “And we’re incredibly proud to be able to have the grand opening and very lucky to have been able to do so within limits and obeying the law, surrounding COVID and physical distancing. “
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Speeches, tree planting and a plaque ceremony were followed by tours of the upgraded facilities.
The 67,000 square foot building sits on nine and a half acres of land, allowing for further expansion as the city and police force grow.
Chief Callaghan says the upgrade was long overdue.
“The previous building had 92 structural cracks in the foundation,” says Callaghan. “There were seven different heating and air conditioning systems that didn’t speak to each other, we were cramped for space that we couldn’t bring in members of other police departments to have meetings let alone. for joint training opportunities. only operating problems.
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“That’s why, having this facility, we are able to do it. And that’s why you see the numbers we have right now in terms of the incredible work being done by our drug processing unit and the renewal of the project.
The police chief says that consideration has been given to reducing costs where possible.
“We have on-site training capabilities that will help us reduce our budget when considering training our members, both sworn and civilian, as we move forward. “
Belleville Mayor Mitch Panciuk attended the opening ceremony, participating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and delivering a speech on stage.
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“As Mayor of the City of Belleville, I am proud to say that our police service is as important to us today as it has ever been to us in the past 231 years,” said Panciuk, addressing the crowd by invitation only.
Callaghan said the project cost a total of $ 26 million and had been in the works for almost two decades.
“When we look at the cost of policing, across North America it is one of the highest budgets, one of the highest or one of the most expensive of any community,” said Callaghan. “And while we always try to be frugal with our money, we need the community to understand that the whole concept of community safety is not necessarily expensive, but it is priceless. And that’s something we’re very, very lucky to have here in our community, and something that we want to keep.
Final design approval for the new headquarters was given in 2018, with the agents moving in last fall.
“This is a community-driven building,” says Callaghan. “This building has a community meeting room… it’s a dedicated meeting room for nonprofits that they can use in the future. And we want this environment to have a welcoming approach to the community. Because after all, this building is about the community.
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