Jail cell plans on agenda for Berlin joint meeting

Published on Tuesday, 27 March 2018 21:15
Written by Charles Paullin


BERLIN - The Town Council and Board of Finance will discuss funding for the jail cell door renovation project at 7 p.m. Thursday in the boardroom of the Berlin-Peck Memorial Library, 234 Kensington Road.

Under the Town Charter, the meeting is required because the finance board took no action at a meeting in late February on transferring funds to fund the $30,000 plan to replace the barred cell doors at the police station.

The money would come from a completed school portable-classroom project that had $310,000 left in its fund.

The plans would provide estimates on how much replacing the four cells would cost and allow the town to package its project with the Trumbull and Orange police departments’ projects in attempt to make the job more appealing to the only two manufacturers in the country that do the work.

The actual building of the cells is estimated to cost around $250,000, based on the eight-cell project in Trumbull and the seven-cell project in Orange, Finance Director Kevin Delaney said at the finance board meeting.

The council approved the project on Feb. 8 after noting the need to reduce overtime expenditures for having an officer watch the holding cells.

Its thoughts came after Deputy Chief Chris Ciuci said at that meeting that the police department has spent over $45,000 since September 2016 to have an officer watch the cells in the evening and overnight so detainees don’t harm themselves. If the cells were to be replaced, that officer would no longer be needed in the jail and could be put back on regular duty.

In September 2016, a detainee attempted to kill himself by tying his shirt around his neck and the barred door, but was saved when one of the officers in the building saw the action on camera and intervened.

“I think we should table it,” said finance board Chairman Sam Lomaglio during a finance board meeting in February. The decision came after discussion occurred on the still unclear plans for the future of the police station and other possible funding sources for the project.

The questions on the future of the police station stem from a proposed study on expanding the police station to the neighboring Board of Education offices in the basement of Town Hall, and proposed police station projects in recent years that failed to win voter approval that remain a topic of discussion in town.

Finance board member Sal Bordonaro said he is in favor of the project, as it takes the officer from guard duty and puts him back on patrol.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or cpaullin@centralctcommunications.com.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Tuesday, 27 March 2018 21:15. Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2018 21:17.