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Police station fully operational

Chief Roger Tucker: ‘It feels like the culmination of a career’

By Tyler S. Witkop
Staff Writer

WILBRAHAM – After more than 100 years, several years of planning and nearly one year of construction, the town of Wilbraham finally has a police station built specifically for the needs of the crews occupying the space. As of Wednesday, April 26, police made the move from their old house at 16 Main St. to their new home at 2780 Boston Road.
For Police Chief Roger Tucker, the feeling is nearly indescribable, as his entire 30-year career with the Wilbraham Police Department has been spent operating out of the converted space on Main Street. He explained crews had been moving records, cabinets and other items for the past week or so. The radio and 911 systems transitioned beginning Wednesday morning. While the transition occurred, he noted they had a dispatcher monitoring calls in Ludlow.
“It’s really becoming a reality now that we’re living out of boxes,” he told The Times. “It feels good because this is a building that will serve the community for a long time. It feels like the culmination of a career.”
For much of his career, he noted he has advocated for a new building. After being named chief in 2011, he made it a priority. With his retirement pending later this year, being able to bring the town and the department up to current standards was the last major task to cross of his list.
He noted that the old station, originally built as a schoolhouse, was converted to town offices and a library before becoming a police station in the 70s. From his perspective, the space was insufficient even then.
By the time voters approved a new police station, with modern technology and records storing requirements, the department occupied every inch of space within the station. The building itself has water issues in the basement and during public tours prior to the town meeting vote in 2015, holes were visible in the foundation.
Town Meeting authorized the 15,800 square foot project at a cost of $8 million in May of 2015. As presented to voters, the town was to borrow $4.2 million over a 15 year period and use $750,000 from free cash, $950,000 from the town’s stabilization account and $250,000 from Proposition 2 ½. The current police station at 16 Main St. is nearly 7,200 square feet, according to online property records.
“The reality is, this police station will serve the community as a station for 60 years or more,” he explained. “We planned for growth and built for the future. There’s nothing over-the-top or frivolous.”
Tucker noted, contrary to some rumors that have circulated, there is no gym or fireplace. There is an elevator shaft, as the new department has multiple floors. He encourages the public to attend the department’s public open house scheduled for Saturday, May 20 at 9 a.m. and see exactly what the town built.
“I’m looking forward to hearing what the residents think,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the residents and their financing, we couldn’t have gotten this done.”
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Voters invited to ‘Candidates Night’ at Minnechaug

WILBRAHAM – The Wilbraham Democratic and Republican Town committees united to host a “Meet the Candidates Night” at Minnechaug Regional High School, 621 Main St., on Thursday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m.
The evening serves as an opportunity for voters see and listen to the candidates running for selectman, Regional School Committee, water commissioner, Planning Board, assessor, cemetery commissioner and library trustee.
David Chivers and George Reich will act as dual moderators for the forum. Residents who wish to ask questions of the candidates are asked to submit them via email to askwilbraham@gmail.com. Chivers and Reich will select from those questions and pose them to the candidates. Citizens may also write questions and hand them to one of the moderators that night.
Following the forum there will be limited time to discuss issues with the candidates.
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Keep a look out for the redesigned and updated Wilbraham-Hampden Times this week. There are some new features and page treatments, revamped headlines and a new, clean look. Tell us what you think! What do you love, what can we do better? As always, we're dedicated to improving the quality of life in the communities we serve. ... See MoreSee Less

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