BRATTLEBORO — Responding to concerns about criminal activity in the downtown area, local officials are exploring the idea of setting up a satellite police station in the Transportation Center.
Assistant Town Manager Patrick Moreland said he began talking with Police Chief Norma Hardy and one of the lieutenants in the Brattleboro Police Department after the subject came up at the last Select Board meeting on June 7 and retail tenants have left the parking garage on Flat Street. He noted the idea has been floated for years, as the police station was relocated to Black Mountain Road in 2017 after being in the Municipal Center on Main Street.
His plan is to return to the board with the potential cost and project analysis at a future meeting. He also expects to recommend a new camera system in the Transportation Center, describing the current one as “spotty” and dating back to the construction of the building in 2003.
“We would be looking for a more robust, modern system,” he said at the board meeting Tuesday.
At the previous board meeting, community members raised concerns about crime and safety downtown. Burglaries, drug sales and substance use were among some of the complaints and there’s a call for a larger police presence downtown.
On Monday, the police department issued a news release about a June 2 event in which officers responded to the Transportation Center for a report of two women physically fighting and investigation led to one of them being cited for aggravated disorderly conduct.
Board member Elizabeth McLoughlin applauded town staff and police for working on the satellite station idea. She said she went on a ride along with the police department last week.
“Our police department works very hard on our behalf,” she said.
Dick DeGray, who has led the chorus in raising concerns about downtown issues, said he requested an agenda meeting item to discuss camera systems downtown about a month ago.
“People feel very unsafe,” he said. “We need a collaborative action plan ... because there’s a lot of bad things going on downtown and all over town but primarily downtown.”
Board Chairman Ian Goodnow said DeGray’s request has now morphed into the conversation about the satellite police station.