The Town of Clayton is hoping to expand the size of the Clayton Police Department by filling in the car port at town hall. The possible project could be done to not only deal with growth but with the logistics of the facility, which requires officers to take suspects to the police station through town hall.

Clayton Police Chief Brian Hill said the topic of a bigger police station has only recently come up over the past few years.

"Five or six years ago there was talk of building a new town hall and police station but because of the recession, the funding wasn't there so the town stepped away from the plan," Hill said. "However the [number of] police department and town employees are still growing and we need to utilize the space we have here. This is the most cost-effective way."

The space in the car port is the same amount of space of the current police station, Hill said, and it would address the problem.

Along with the absence of a public entranceway, Hill said there's no interview room. In order to have prisoner privacy, he said they have to take the suspects to council chambers through town hall where civilian employees work.

"That's a security breach," he said.

The squad room the seven officers use is tight and the department is running out of storage space. There are no cells in the department so when needed Clayton Police officers take suspects to the Smyrna Police Department. If an officer needs to detain suspects, Hill said there's a bench in the station.

The town formed a committee at their reorganization meeting to look into expanding the department into the car port. Councilman Alex Dias, Councilman Skip Carrow, and Councilwoman Mary Ellen DeBenedictis sit on the committee with Hill. Dias is the chairman.

"We have to do something," Dias said. "A new police station would cost millions and we don't have that money without raising taxes and we don't want to do that."

Dias said expanding the station into the carport is the most cost-effective way to address the issue; the project could cost roughly $50,000.

Hill said he's talked to engineer Ed Ide, of i3a Engineering & Construction Management, about the project, explaining what he would like to see in a possible expansion. As soon as Ide completes the drawings and has cost estimates for an expansion, the committee will schedule a meeting.

Once a public meeting is held, a motion will be needed to send it to council for a vote. The committee hopes to meet with Ide soon to get the project moving.

"The goal is to get this [expansion] done before it gets cold," DeBenedictis said.

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