WESTFIELD- Police Chief Lawrence P. Valliere began serious talks with the Police Commission Dec. 9 regarding building new police headquarters in the relatively near future.
Valliere said, to the agreement of the three commissioners, that the current headquarters on Washington Street is old and outdated. He said that earlier in the day on Monday he had a meeting with Captains Michael McCabe and Jerome Pitoniak about the state of the building, and particularly its classroom.
He said that he wanted the headquarter’s classroom to be revamped by the end of the year, but that he does not see that happening.
“As far as the building goes, we really need to start the conversation on public awareness to the fact that that department has seen its day,” said Valliere, “I ask all three commissioners to join in that effort with me and to start the ball rolling, start the conversation. It’s not going to get any better. It’s time — it’s been time.”
Commissioner Felix Otero suggested creating a five-year plan for a new building.
“We have to come up with a program where it’s on the table every time we have a meeting to see how far it’s going and what we can do to get it going,” said Otero.
The current building was first constructed in the 1970s. Otero noted that he has seen other nearby departments upgrading to newer buildings or repairing existing facilities.
City Councilor Michael Burns, who was in attendance, suggested that the police come to the Long Term Finance sub-committee meeting in January to get the process started.