Monday update: Response to Chief Haigh’s memo

Monday, May 17, two days before the council meeting, Chief Haigh sent a memo to councilors with more detailed description of the proposed construction along with a loose set of estimates for the work. Our position on the upgrades has not changed. We include Chief Haigh’s full memo below, but here is a brief summary of his request with our responses:

Chief Haigh proposes:

  • $20k for expanding the dispatch room
  • $120k for moving offices and adding skylights
  • $40k for a new fence
  • $300k for new individual, gender neutral showers
  • $290k for a new sally port
  • $250k for the parking lot
  • $400k for moving the existing covered parking
  • $160k for an architect
  • Total estimate: $1.76 million

Our response:

  • Chief Haigh has not been forthright in his claims about health and safety. He previously mentioned mold remediation and HVAC issues, as well as cell blocks that are in violation of state regulations. None of these issues appear here. Where are the health and safety issues in this list?
  • At $20k, expanding dispatch is the cheapest item in this list. Even if the $120k for moving offices and adding skylights are related to reconfiguring dispatch, $140k is a very small portion of the $1.76m requested here.
  • The million dollar sally port? Chief Haigh says that redoing the sally port means they will have to demolish and rebuild their existing 14-bay carport and redo the parking lot. Thus the sally port and booking room drive the bulk of this project, coming in at $940k. The current sally port is a metal carport with a leak in the roof. Does it cost $1 million to fix a roof leak? When the majority of this expense is for moving around other things that already exist and work fine, is this the smartest way to fix a small problem?
  • The sally port estimate does refer to reconfiguring the booking room entrance, as well, which Chief Haigh has mentioned is a safety concern. If it costs only $20k to expand dispatch, why spend $1 million to expand the booking room?
  • Too little information, too late. Chief Haigh has had a month since the last council meeting to provide this information, and he has only delivered this minimal description two days before the final vote. Furthermore, he originally presented this capital request last fall. Shouldn’t he have acquired more detailed estimates of the work before submitting the capital request?
  • Lack of clarity and consistency. Why has the narrative changed so much over the months–from an additional women’s locker room, to a complete reconfiguration of the showers? Beyond the booking room, what happened to the health and safety concerns? Which of these proposals are driven by accreditation?

This memo does nothing to convince us that these changes are urgent needs rather than a wish list. After a year of a crushing recession and pandemic, we want to see our tax dollars go where they are needed. As we have said before:

We believe that any large, forward-looking allocations to upgrade the police station infrastructure should be postponed until we in Greenfield have held our own democratic process of deciding whether more policing is the best use of our limited resources, given the problems we face.

Memo from Chief Haigh to the City Council:

Good Day All,

Below you will find an estimate and break down of beginning cost estimates for part of the revitalization of the Greenfield Police Department.  I worked with a local contractor and a separate local architect, and together they gave me estimates.  I wish to caution, these are estimates, and was done voluntarily, and will have to be more specific after gained support to move forward with this project.  Additionally, both advised that depending on the material such as steal or wood, the costs could be more or less at the time of construction.  I walked the property with both separately to speak of our needs, and my thoughts, and then they collaborated together resulting in the following:

    1. A 3600 square foot two car garage, in masonry stone, with one side for secure holding with a new entrance into the booking area for safety:  $290k

    2. An 8 foot security fence at 600 ft to enclose and secure the rear of the building: $40k

    3. New blacktop and restructuring regarding of the parking lot which will be needed for the new garage, and the moving and rebuilding of the covered parking: $250k

    4. A rebuilt 14 bay carport, which will have to be demoed and moved due to new garage and parking configuration, also containing storage: $400k

    5. To move the offices in the back into a room in the center of the building, with skylights for natural light as there are no windows, and need to be moved to accommodate the new bathrooms: $120k

    6. To create 5 separate gender neutral changing/shower/bathrooms to allow for shared general gender neutral locker rooms: $300k

    7. Cost for architect: $160k

    8. To knock the wall down and open up dispatch room: $20k

Total Cost: $1.76 M

While I realize this is over the asking for Capital, these are the projects I was proposing for phase 1.  I will need to speak with hired architects to determine priorities.


Robert Haigh