Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 09-11-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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4 NORTH PROVIDENCE PUBLIC SAFETY COMPLEX SEPTEMBER 11-17, 2019 | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION NORTH PROVIDENCE – From his new office on the second floor of the North Providence Public Safety Complex, Police Chief David Tikoian can look out his window and see North Providence High School. "It's nice to be right across the street from the high school," said the chief, who's already been told by some stu- dents that they're excited about being so close to the Police Department. This is just one of several ways the new complex, at 1835 Mineral Spring Ave., benefits the community, Tikoian said during a walk-through of the new nearly $28 million, 58,000-square-foot facility. Though this building is pretty extravagant for the daily tasks of police officers, Tikoian said it's also wonderful for officers to be working in such an environment. In the old com- plex, voices traveled through walls and there was little privacy. "I could hear everything," he said. While members of the Police and Fire Departments moved into the new facility last month, officials are hosting a grand opening of the complex on Saturday, Sept. 21. "It is a beautiful building," said Tikoian. Designed by architect RGB, the new safety complex was built by Ahlborg Construction. The preliminary work to make the property ready for con- struction was done by Vinagro. Throughout this sleek new build- ing are upgrades designed to help the department toward its goal of accreditation, from the way files are kept to how evidence is processed. The evidence room, once a source of embarrassment for the department, has layer upon layer of accountability, said Tikoian. Det. Chris Cote, a nine-year veteran, said he and other officers are grateful for their new space, a "vast improve- ment" on the old smaller facilities with greater capabilities. "There's more opportunity to do things in a more efficient way," he said. Speaking of efficiency, any excess here is mitigated somewhat by the state-of-the-art energy efficiency throughout, including light harvesting and modern gas heat. The mechanical room here looks like a high-tech sub- marine, said the chief. Supervising records clerk Lisa Calkins has been with the department for 31 years, and says she never quite knew what she was missing. "Even though this is open, I can focus so much better," she told The Breeze during a tour. "It's been great." Calkins said she was planning to retire in four years, "but now I don't know, I might have to stay around lon- ger." Tikoian pointed out that as soon as community members walk into the vestibule, there will be a monitor that lists upcoming trainings and events and other relevant information. Straight ahead are counters where visitors can file complaints and request records and to the left is a public inter- view room and another room used for interviews or fingerprinting. In the old station, if someone needed fingerprints done for a background check, they would have to go to the cell block. This setup is better for the community, Safety complex a bit extravagant but plenty practical By MELANIE THIBEAULT and ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Staff Writers melanie@valleybreeze.com the chief said. The room will also be equipped with a computer so residents can come in and make reports about neighborhood nuisances or other issues, he said. The Municipal Court, located off the vestibule, is a common space that could be rented out to community groups when it's not in use, Tikoian said. Court usually takes place twice a month. Tikoian also turned what would have been a storage room off the courtroom into a small office space for people to pay tickets and make transactions. The spaces within the building also work to promote community among the staff. Tikoian said original plans called for two break rooms upstairs to sepa- rate the detectives from the command staff, but he nixed that plan and made one room where everyone can com- mingle. Another break room down- stairs is for all civilian employees and police officers, he said. While the Police Department and Fire Department have their own sepa- rate wings of the building, a fitness room and a training room (with space for 40) will be shared by both depart- ments. The police and fire dispatch centers are right next to each other, Tikoian noted, which makes communication between the two departments easier. Outside is another place for the staff to mingle in a courtyard area with a grill and picnic tables and chairs. While staff members describe the building as beautiful and impressive, Tikoian says that all of the features and technology are to help police do their jobs more efficiently. And the new space is much quieter than the old station, which several staff mem- bers said helps with their focus. "There are a lot more tools avail- able for investigators to do their jobs," he said. "It's a really professional first- class operation." Located upstairs are offices for com- mand staff and detectives, as well as a radio room and an emergency opera- tions center. The first floor features a crime lab and evidence holding room with a biometrics security system. There are two other rooms, one for drugs and narcotics and another for high risk items such as jewelry, money, and guns, Tikoian said. A $6,000 powder testing chamber allows officers to test drugs, such as cocaine, for traces of fentanyl, he said. The holding and processing center, also on the first floor, has four cell blocks for males, two for females, a juvenile holding space, and a group detention holding space. Lockers in both the men's and women's locker rooms are vented, have outlets for officers to charge their phones, radios, and other equip- ment, and have a space to securely lock their weapons. BREEZE PHOTO BY ETHAN SHOREY The North Providence Town Seal in the front area of the new North Providence Public Safety Complex. BREEZE PHOTO BY CHARLES LAWRENCE North Providence Police Chief DAVID TIKOIAN in his new office, within the new North Providence Public Safety Complex. BREEZE PHOTO BY CHARLES LAWRENCE Detective CHRIS COTE stands next to the new work spaces for the department's detectives. BREEZE PHOTO BY BOB EMERSON Supervising Records Clerk LISA CALKINS files a record in her office at the new North Providence Public Safety Complex. The main entrance to the com- plex is in the background.

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