Concerned citizens have banded together to form a Political Action Committee called “Bethel Police Station – Yes.” The name of the committee, formed by Residents Bill Hillman (Chair) and Larry Craybas (Treasurer) explains its simple purpose; advocate for a YES vote to fund a new Bethel Police Station.
Report by Paula Antolini
November 30, 2015 5:18PM EDT
Bethel Citizens Form a Political Action Committee, “Bethel Police Station – Yes” for a YES Vote to Fund a New Bethel Police Station
Concerned citizens have banded together to form a Political Action Committee called “Bethel Police Station – Yes.”
The name of the committee, formed by Residents Bill Hillman (Chair) and Larry Craybas (Treasurer) explains its simple purpose; advocate for a YES vote to fund a new Bethel Police Station.
The referendum, likely to be held on December 17th has been the subject of much discussion on Facebook. A brief survey posted on the blog shows more in support than against, with some “against” expressing concern about the location. A note of positive support for the location claimed, “It’s a smart use of existing town land and changes the security dynamic of the entire educational campus in a positive way.”
The $13.492 million proposal, netted against planned reduction in, and retirement of current debt service will have a minimal impact on property tax, according to Town Controller Bob Koslowski.
The plan, which retains the existing capability of an indoor firing range , will allow our police force to continue with far more training than if they are forced to travel (at overtime pay) to distant locations, limited range time and conflicting schedules.
Having seen a lot of disinforming statistics in the past, Hillman emphasized, “We want to get the vote out, communicate relevant, accurate facts and figures to drive this to a successful conclusion”. Comparing this plan to nearby obsolete police facilities might be “accounting accurate”, but essentially meaningless to serious analysis.
According to First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker, “Our town has grown significantly since the current station was built, and our department has grown with it. The present facility simply cannot meet the needs of our police force. A new station is by far the most cost effective solution.”
Captain Pugner, who researched the department’s history offered: “In 1985 we did not have the current size of the force. Dispatch and paramedic programs were not in the building. Since 1985 at least 12 or more employees have been added to the building, which includes dispatchers”. In terms of today’s overcrowded situation, “Today we have 37 officers and 12 citizen employees (which includes 8 dispatchers)”
Chief Finch, addressing the size and configuration highlighted that the plan came from 3 separate and detailed “space needs studies”. He also noted that each of the last three Superintendents have supported the location on Town property near the schools.
Board of Education chair Larry Craybas also notes, “keeping someone intent on harming our school children out of our school or schools as long as possible, and coincidently getting Police support there as quickly as possible is a sound safety & security strategy. The proposed site on the town-owned Judd Avenue property is the ideal location by which to execute this strategy.”
The Bethel Police department will be hosting informational tours of the existing facility on Friday, December 4th , starting at 4pm. A quick walk through should convince any reasonable voter how important their vote will be.
The Bethel Police Station – Yes PAC and its supporters, which includes many Town officials and leaders from both the Democrat and Republican Town committees, hope for a positive YES vote to get this done.
Bill Hillman, Chair Larry Craybas, Treasurer