CCSU Opens New Police Facility on Campus
On July 23, Central Connecticut State University opened its new police station, located on East Street, near Route 9.
The new facility is long over due and the added space will allow for improved conditions for workers and more efficient operations, CCSU Police Chief Jason B. Powell said.
He recalls the 1960s-era, wood-framed structure that housed the police operations beginning in 1982.
“It was basically a single family split level home that had belonged to a former coach and the university had acquired the property and it became the police headquarters prior to my arrival here in 1991,” Powell said. “It was inefficient. It was unsafe.”
College officials say that the old facility did not meet accessibility requirements and has not been able to meet the growth of enrollment there.
All police business will be done through the new 12,500-square-foot facility, which cost around $5 million and was funded through state borrowing. The facility has been in the works for more than a decade.
Powell says officers are still settling in and the transition was mostly without any issues. He said it was a great challenge maintaining services and making a move from one building to another.
“We’re still getting used to it,” Powell said in a recent interview. “We really haven’t settled down yet. We’ve got some typical move in issues, but the university has done a very good job moving us and taking care of the technology concerns.”
The new building provides space for public safety administration officials, patrol operations, special services, and the support service division of the campus police.
In the old building, Powell said there were issues with prisoners not being secure—not only for their safety, but also for the police and student workers. Another issue was the inability to have a private location to interview victims. Officers often had to leave the building to meet with a victim in order to interview someone, taking away staff from the central operations. The lockers for the police officers were in a dark basement and not at all pleasant, Powell says, and the temperature was cold in the winter and hot in the summer.
Over the years, the department has added more technology, such as closed circuit television system, which feeds into the dispatch center and is monitored. The former building could only handle so much technology upgrades and was limited in its expansion, Powell said.
While the old space didn’t undermine the department’s ability to patrol, Powell said it limited basic functions at the headquarters. “Simple things like holding meetings,” he said. “The walls were thin and you could hear everything.”
He added: “That building wasn’t designed to be a police department. It was designed to be a house. This building is designed to be a police department.”
Currently there are 23 officers on staff spread out over three shifts. There is also one officer currently in training. Officers’ duties include investigations, handling parking, traffic control for special events, and emergency medical calls. The department has an arrangement with the New Britain Police Department in which the CCSU officers patrol the neighborhoods immediately around the campus and answer calls when any needs arise.
Several years ago, the department dealt with a string of car break-ins which detectives were able to put an end to. Powell said the department deals with on-going off-campus housing issues. “Some years are better than others,” he said. “One of the challenges you have in a university environment is that you have a roughly 25 percent turnover population every year. That brings with it challenges obviously. New people. It takes time for people to get acclimated.”
Powell says the officers are going to be pleased with the new facility. “They need to feel apart of the university community,” Powell said. “It shows the university has regard for the services they provide.”
At the end of this month, the department will undergo a voluntary accreditation to measure itself against the industry’s best practices. Powell said the new facility will likely give the department high marks in that review.
In February 2011, the state Bond Commission, which is headed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, approved bonding $5.1 million for the construction of the building.
State officials estimated that the project supported 90 construction jobs.