BERLIN, CT (WFSB) –
The Berlin police department is looking to build a new facility, but some residents don’t think spending $21 million should even be considered.
Berlin Deputy Police Chief John Klett said the department has been running out of space for years.
“We have equipment stacked everywhere. A lot of this stuff is not excess,” Klett said. “We took a classroom and split it in half to use half as a classroom and half as support services.”
There is a growing need for additional equipment as well, like body armor and riot and swat gear. This is one of the several reasons Klett said the department needs the $21 million building.
William Brighenti is a member of the Berlin Property Owner’s Association, and said that while he admires the work Berlin police do, getting rid of some of the equipment would help to alleviate the $21 million price tag.
“I question, do we need military equipment for a peaceful neighborly suburb as Berlin,” Brighenti said. “I can’t recall there ever being a riot in Berlin, and if there is in Berlin don’t we have the National Guard?”
Klett said there isn’t necessarily military equipment in the department, but after 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security issued that all police departments need some kind of chemical protective gear.
He also said that the equipment is needed in case of emergencies.
“We have patrol rifles in the cars, which are the standard in the industry. That’s largely due to the possibility of an active shooter incident,” Klett added.
The Berlin town manager recently said that the renovations at the police department were on hold because the town is building a new high school.
Brighenti said he thinks the issue should be put out to the voters.