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Thurmont police station nears groundbreaking

Jeremy Hauck

(7/20) Construction on a new $1.8 million police station in Thurmont may begin within two weeks, Thurmont chief administrative/financial officer Rick May said.

Construction was originally expected to begin earlier this month. ‘‘It’s running a little behind," May said.

Once construction begins, May hopes it will be complete in six months.

The town is borrowing $2 million to design, build and furnish the new station, which will be nearly 20 times larger than the Thurmont Police Department’s current building.

The department’s chief, nine officers and two staffers work in a station about the size of a one-bedroom apartment attached to the town office.

‘‘This place isn’t safe to bring prisoners in," Chief Gregory L. Eyler said Monday, rolling off a list of deficiencies with the current quarters.

Eyler said the new station will bring secure spaces to hold suspects, conduct interviews and store suspected drugs.

The new station will give the department a huge boost in its bid to get national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Eyler said.

The new one-story station will be located on the corner of East Main Street and Westview Drive, on what is now a section of the East End Recreational Center.

‘‘It’s just open space [right now]," May said.

The town has faithfully placed the project in the hands of resident Gary Seiss.

Seiss, former owner and operator of Seiss Construction Company in Thurmont, retired from a 43-year building career last year. He volunteered to oversee the subcontractors building the station, on behalf of the town.

‘‘He’s more or less donating his time," May said.

On Monday, Seiss acknowledged the terms of his contract would yield him a nominal gain.

‘‘They made me sign a paper for $1," Seiss said.

Seiss said the subcontractors hired to build the station work out of Thurmont and Frederick. He is familiar with several of the firms, he said.

The building, designed by the Frederick firm NuTec Design Associates, will resemble police stations in Taneytown in Carroll County and Denton on the Eastern Shore.

The Thurmont Police Department’s fiscal 2008 budget is set at $691,000, for personnel, vehicles and equipment.

Thurmont, with a population of about 6,000, is one of three Frederick County municipalities with its own police force. The other two are Brunswick, which employs 10 officers, and the City of Frederick, which employs 145 officers.

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office will be able to use Thurmont’s new station as a field office to file reports, take breaks and conduct interviews, May said, but will not maintain a permanent presence there.

Sheriff’s deputies already use the Thurmont’s current office for that purpose, according to a Frederick County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

‘‘We have a good working relationship with them now," said Cpl. Jennifer Bailey Monday. ‘‘We want to keep deputies out in the community."

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