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Montpelier police to get new home

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Sgt. Tim Livengood works at his computer terminal in the tiny office he shares with Sgt. Jim Brace at Montpelier police headquarters. The office is too cramped for the two sergeants to be working during the same shift.

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MONTPELIER - Police sergeants Jim Brace and Tim Livengood work in the same office - but not at the same time.

They share a desk in a tiny cubbyhole in the cramped and crowded Montpelier police headquarters.

“They try not to both be there at the same time or work the same shift,” police administrative assistant Teresa Goebel said yesterday.

But all that will change within a few months. Bids will be awarded soon on work to renovate a Montpelier building to become the new police headquarters.

The town has bought a building that housed a Video Connection store and Subway sandwich shop. It will allow the police department to move out of the old building it shares with the village utilities department.

The new quarters will be four times the size of where police now work. The renovation project will cost about $210,000.

“We hope to move the police in by February,” administrator John Bitler said.

It can't be too soon for Montpelier's police force.

“We won't be falling over ourselves and our equipment,” Ms. Goebel said. “We hardly have room to move here now. Our question here always is where to put any new stuff.”

Lt. Jeff Lehman, second in command on the 10-person force, said he will appreciate room enough to have a second chair in his office. “I can invite someone in to sit down and talk,” he said.

The town paid $200,000 at auction for the building, which is less than 10 years old, Mr. Bitler said. “We'll move the police department lock, stock, and barrel into that building as soon as we can get it ready,'' he said.

A commissioned study recommended the town build a 4,000-square-foot police facility, Mr. Bitler said. Then the video rental and sandwich stores moved to new locations, leaving the downtown building vacant.

“It was 4,500 square feet, so we realized we'd be money ahead to renovate it,” Mr. Bitler said. The building's wide-open interior needs walls and office partitions.

“The new building will have separate rooms for filing, a separate room to secure firearms, a meeting room, and an evidence area,” Lieutenant Lehman said. “We'll be able to function rather than sitting on top of each other trying to work.”

Another plus will be easier access for the public, including the handicapped. The police office now is reached by climbing a half-flight of stairs over a basement that once housed the town jail.

“We encourage people to stop in and talk to us,” Lieutenant Lehman said. “We like to get to know the people we serve.”

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