Police Department Headquarters
The Township of Fairfield, nestled in northwest Essex County, New Jersey is a close knit community of about 7,400 citizens. Essential to the communities health and well-being is the Township’s Police Force and their ability to operate efficiently and with urgency is directly related to their facility and the provisions available to them. For years the Department worked hard to deliver an exemplary level of service and made the most of their existing facility, designed and constructed in the 1970’s. A growing police force and changing technology placed significant strain on the infrastructure and building layout, creating inefficiencies in both and forcing the Township to explore the possibilities of expansion or a new facility.
The question to be answered was whether reclaiming underutilized space and overcoming inefficiencies within the existing building was even possible. After attending operations meetings with the Chief of Police and his administration along with the Township Administrator and Mayor, the needs and desires of the department were made clear. From there the existing building was evaluated as a whole, a program was developed, and conceptual layouts created to house all of the necessary personnel and equipment. Several key program elements were at the forefront of the design: an updated Dispatch / Communications Center; a new Emergency Operations / Command Center; safer Sallyport and Cell Block Areas; and better accommodations for these dedicated officers. Ultimately, after much analysis and collaboration with the Police Department and Department of Corrections, it was determined that the needs and wants could be met within the existing building footprint. The scope included redistribution of square footage, making larger inefficient spaces smaller and providing appropriate sized spaces for offices and administrative functions.
The 7,962 square foot “new facility” includes accommodations for the Investigative, Administrative and Patrol Divisions and the Chief of Police; a new Emergency Operations Command Center with video wall and completely new communications and computer facilities; a new locker room and fitness area with appropriate shower facilities was included for both male and female officers; a new evidence processing room and secure storage; a new armory with appropriate cleaning equipment and secure weapons storage and a completely redesigned and safer prisoner processing, interviewing and cell block areas. The final layout provides complete separation of prisoners from the internal operations of the precinct. Custom-designed graphics placed strategically throughout the facility, transform this institutional structure into a warm and inviting place for occupants and visitors alike. Visitors are greeted at the Lobby by a graphic wall image of the American Flag, the Police Department Patch, the iconic Township steeple and the motto, “Faith & Honor”. The current police officers have expressed gratitude at their new environment, a place where they now look forward to coming to work and can now deliver an even higher level of service to the Citizens of Fairfield. Retiree’s who have visited the completed facility have joked “that if the facility looked and operated like this, they might not have retired.”