Police Station Project Complete, on Time and on Budget

Bedford Police Chief John C. Fisher is at his desk in his newly renovated office. Staff photo by Wayne Braverman

Bedford Police Chief John Fisher is enjoying the view from his new office in the refurbished police headquarters at 2 Mudge Way.

“We put benches on the lawn outside and sometimes I see young people sitting there,” the chief described. “I love it! I feel we are an integral part of the town. We want this space to look welcoming.”

The $6.4 million police station expansion and renovation are essentially complete – on time and on budget, according to acting Facilities Director Ron Scaltreto. Fisher guided the Select Board on the tour of the facility on Monday. 

“We’re going to coordinate with the town manager and the Select Board for a ribbon-cutting,” he said, most likely in August.

Tuesday, navigating around a few electrical workers and others checking items off the construction punch list, Chief Fisher pointed out the highlights. 

The chief succeeded Robert Bongiorno in September 2022, when the building was replete with workers inside and outside. He praised the oversight and involvement of the Facilities Department and Scaltreto. 

“Ron was an integral part. He worked night and day and knows everything about this project,” the chief testified. 

He also credited contributions by the Department of Public Works and the director, David Manugian. “It was a real team effort. There’s a lot of credit to pass around.”

Emergency Communications Officer Matt Newman and his canine friend are working in the dispatch area of the Bedford Police Department. This dispatch center is for both police and fire. In 2018, he earned a commendation for “maintaining control over an evolving situation in which three people fell victim to an overdose, ensuring that adequate resources were dispatched to ensure the survival of all three.” Staff photo by Wayne Braverman

Scaltreto said, “The total added space to the station was 1,867 square feet. In addition, there was a complete updating and energy-efficient overhaul to the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.” 

Fisher said that overall, “If it worked well and was the appropriate size, it was left alone.” 

What is now the police station first opened in 1951 at 15 The Great Road as the town library, built as a memorial to the Stearns Family. The current library was completed in 1967, and 15 The Great Road became the Bedford Administrative Offices Building; the selectmen and other boards met there through the ’70s. Space was rented to some private concerns, such as the Red Cross and the Farm Bureau, until the police moved in around 1997.

Throughout its history, the building has hosted the Bedford Historical Society and its archives. They are now located in Old Town Hall. The monument on the front lawn was dedicated in 1975 to mark the American Revolution Bicentennial.

The most dramatic change from the completed renovations is the training room, an addition to the west side of the building. The space, which seats 60, is equipped with the audio-visual essentials – drop-down screen, laptops, internet connection. 

Fisher said there’s a minimal annual training commitment for officers, which this department always exceeds. Some of the topics addressed during these sessions are changes in juvenile law, use of force, and diversity training, he said.

The tables are on wheels and can be stored away for training sessions that involve “hands-on stuff,” the chief continued. The area also provides an opportunity for regional training sessions, he added.

The chief now occupies the northwest corner office on the main floor, moving from the second floor. Nearby, installation of walls created offices for the administrative sergeant and lieutenants.  The roll-call room at the front of the building is also a new configuration.

In the rear of the main floor, the space for the public safety dispatchers is unchanged except for some improvements to the lighting and access panels. The lobby, open to the public, also will look familiar.

The department’s investigative area remains on the second floor of the station. The chief pointed to a new environmentally-friendly firearms cleaning appliance. 

The biggest environmental impact is on the ground floor where the heating system is the model for the future of town and school buildings: all electric. (There is a natural-gas backup.)

The locker rooms now have much larger and more practical lockers to store their things. Chief Fisher opened his locker to show how good these are. Staff photo by Wayne Braverman

There are new male and female locker rooms. “It’s really important for our members to have good locker space,” the chief observed. “This is the Toyota Camry of a locker.” 

Each locker has a double door, a top shelf, a bottom drawer for footgear, and a secure compartment for a sidearm. Air flows through the lockers to dry anything that needs it. Radio calls project through the locker rooms.

Nearby, an expanded fitness room will be outfitted with equipment that is mostly privately donated, Chief Fisher noted.

A secure evidence room is a new feature of the officers’ ground-level access from the staff parking area. Outside, there’s a new generator that can power the entire building. 

The project added a one-way emergency vehicle departure driveway connecting to The Great Road on the east side of the property. It will be rarely used, but important when seconds count, the chief said. He noted that officers answer most calls from their cars, not the station.

Corridors are all inclined for full accessibility. Surfaces are new and “the building flows with how things have improved,” the tour guide said. “We tend to only see people at their worst possible moment. We want people to feel comfortable coming here in a normal day.”

The expansion and renovation project at the Bedford Police Station is pretty much complete. Staff photo by Wayne Braverman
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