RICHBORO >> The newly-accredited Northampton Township Police Department is settling into its brand new $7 million home at 111 Township Road.
Chief Michael Clark and his department made a seamless transition on Friday, packing up its headquarters since 1976 and relocating to its new home located a just a few doors down the street.
The department posted photographs on FaceBook showing off its brand new home with its freshly-painted walls, spotless cubicles, tons of storage space and the department’s logo prominently displayed on one of the meeting room walls.
The social media posting also noted that with this move Chief Clark becomes the only officer in the department to have worked in all three stations. The original station was located next to the Old Spread Eagle Inn at 2nd Street Pike and Almshouse Road.
The posting drew 60 comments and nearly 600 likes with many remembering the department’s first station and others congratulating the department on its new facility.
“A well deserved new facility for the BEST police force ever!” wrote Linda Jones.
“Congratulations! Thank you for all you do protecting Northampton Township and residents!” wrote Pat Komelasky, the wife of the late Supervisor George Komelasky who advocated strongly for a new station prior to his death.
And Monica Uish added, “Beautiful! Enjoy the new space. Appreciate what you all do for our community and kids! We have a special group looking out for us!”
The move more than triples the amount of space for the department, expanding it from 7,000 to more than 26,000 square feet, and provides a headquarters fitting for a top notch, accredited department.
“The former station (built in the 1970s) was designed for about 24 officers. We have 43 now,” explained Barry Moore, the chairman of the board of supervisors. “The township has grown, we have a lot more police officers and we needed a proper facility.”
According to Moore, the new one floor facility boasts a more welcoming lobby, a state-of-the-art security system and an on-site firearms range. There is more space for equipment and evidence storage, larger locker rooms, space for data terminals and more sophisticated technology, covered parking and a new enclosed sally port for transferring prisoners safely and securely into and out of the facility for processing.
Part of the building was once the headquarters of the Northampton Township Municipal Authority, which sold the property to the township for $600,000 and relocated down the street to the former Fox Chase Bank.
The project included renovating the former 5,000 square foot NTMA building and the construction of a 21,000 square foot building addition, which was completed in July.
The building was designed by Phillips and Donovan Architects of Bedminster. Gordon H. Baver of Pennsburg was the general contractor. Boyle Construction of Allentown was the construction manager. And Gilmore and Associates was the civil engineer on the project.
The township is funding the new building with a $1 million state grant secured by State Senator Robert Tomlinson, money set aside for capital projects in its budget and a municipal bond refinancing approved by the supervisors in 2018 that included $4 million for the station.
The department had outgrew its former station, which was designed and built in the early 1970s for 26 officers. Today, the department has 43 officers and 10 civilians employees, which put a strain on the old facility located across the street from the municipal building.
After touring the former station in 2015, Supervisor Dr. Kimberly Rose said the facility was perfect when it was built in the 1970s when the township had about 10 officers, but not today.
“It is cramped and overcrowded to a point where it doesn’t even appear safe to me,” she said, joining her fellow supervisors at the time in supporting efforts to build a new station.
“Our job as supervisors is protecting the health, safety and welfare of our citizens. We have a very professional force, but they are so overcrowded with evidence, files and their weapons. You have to see it to believe it. We need to fix our police station and give our department a proper police headquarters.”
Supervisor Eileen Silver, in voting to move forward with the new police station in 2015 described the project as a need, not a want. “A new police station is definitely a need" for the township's police department, which has made due with an overcrowded facility for too many years.
The police department is planning an open house for sometime in September to show off its new headquarters to the public.