Building a new Purcellville police station is on the town’s wish list, but the wish will remain unfilled for a few more years.
Without funding or land to build a new station, the town is renewing its lease to keep the headquarters at 125 E. Hirst Road for at least three more years.
The department is housed in a 4,300-square-foot space. Details of the new lease are still being worked out between the town and the building’s owner, the Lowers Risk Group. The existing lease ends June 30.
During the Town Council’s May 24 meeting, Assistant Town Manager Daniel C. Davis and Police Chief Cynthia McAlister said the current space is not ideal and there are a number of security concerns. The two agreed that the best long-term solution is to build a new station within town limits.
McAlister knows the importance of security for her police officers, having served as an administrator on the Fairfax County Police force on May 8, 2012, when two police officers were shot by a troubled teenager who waited in the parking lot at the Sully District police station before killing Fairfax Detective Vicky Armel and Police Officer Michael E. Garbarino. “It was very traumatic, so I come at it with a different experience,” McAlister said Monday.
Both Davis and McAlister said finding land for a new station is a big challenge. The chief said the project would need about 1.5 acres, making the town-owned land at the town’s maintenance facility and wastewater treatment plant on South 20th Street a possible location. Davis said the town will begin to investigate grants and other funding sources to support the project down the road.
In the meantime, the town will stay put. The Lower Risk Group is supportive of the police presence and offered to provide additional space and help with security concerns, including strengthening the glass windows, adding security cameras, and installing bollards along the parking lot to protect offices that look out to the parking area. The company also will connect the office to its building-wide generator.
The town also wants to expand the foyer to provide space for officers to meet residents outside the office’s secure zone.
Provisionally, the lease rate will be $20/square foot for fiscal year 2017, slightly below the current rate. A 3 percent escalator will be built in for future years. The lease can be extended for an additional three years.