NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – The North Adams police force is operating from a new temporary headquarters on the site of the former juvenile court. They say the building they occupied for nearly 70 years had its fair share of problems, including being out of compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
What you need to know
- The North Adams Police Department, except for their dispatch unit, is operating out of a new temporary headquarters
- The department expects to be at the newly renovated site of the former juvenile court for a few years until a new building for North Adams police is erected a fire
- Money for this project comes from ARPA funds and an investment from local landlord David Carver of Scarafoni & Associates
- Construction of the new space at 21 Holden Street began on 3 December 2022
Mayor Jennifer Macksey said their new space offers a better experience for anyone entering police headquarters.
“Currently when we arrest people who are disabled or have some mobility, we have to carry them into our current police station,” Macksey said, speaking of the old station. “That will no longer be the case. People have adequate access to the front door as well as being processed through booking.”
In a tour of the police department’s new temporary home Wednesday, Macksey highlighted the many areas where the much larger space contrasts with their old station.
The new headquarters has features such as a public lobby, ADA-compliant holding cells with access to drinking water, new security and evidence storage, men’s and women’s locker rooms for officers, a laundry room and a large meeting room where the city plans to host community events.
Macksey said the motivation to move out of the building, which had mold, water leaks and climate control issues, became greater than providing a good working environment for officers.
“Most importantly, to provide an environment where our customers and our community members can come in and safely visit an officer, talk to an officer, have some privacy with an officer, to talk about some things that they might not will share with everyone,” Macksey said. “So, it’s really a combination of, yes, the ADA was the driving force behind this, but it’s more about community relations and community service.”
“We’ve been asking about this for as long as I’ve been here,” Interim Chief Mark Bailey said. “We wanted a new building.”
Bailey is in his first week as interim police chief. He has been with the department for nearly 20 years and said he believes the new space provides a morale boost for North Adams officers. He hopes that changes will continue to happen.
“My goal as interim chief is just to get us out into the community more to become more community oriented because I believe that any police department, their success is recorded by your crime rate, not so much how much you arrest people or how much you puts people away, but based on crime,” Bailey said. “I want to bring our crime rate down, and the only way I see us doing that is by getting more involved in the community. So that’s my number one goal, getting out into the community.”
Bailey added that no primary goal for him is to make sure the department has better rules, regulations, policy and procedures in place for officers.