Police Department Headquarters Opens With Ribbon Cutting, Public Tours
“We couldn’t ask for a better day,” Newtown Police Chief James Viadero said as he stood before a large crowd of citizens gathered at the new Newtown Police Department, at 191 South Main Street, for its ribbon cutting ceremony on November 7.
With clear skies and the warm sun shining down up everyone, the autumn morning could have been mistaken for a summer’s day.
Viadero thanked everyone for attending, including honorary guests First Selectman Dan Rosenthal, past and present Police Commission members, and members of the Board of Finance, Board of Selectmen, and Public Building & Site Commission.
“There’s a lot of people that had a big role in this. Without the support of the Town of Newtown we would never be where we are today,” Viadero said.
He explained that 2021 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Newtown Police Department. The headquarters had humble beginnings, first located in the Edmond Town Hall before moving to 3 Main Street.
Today, at 191 South Main Street, Viadero said, “We couldn’t ask for a better location.”
The town purchased the property from the Roman family, whose business, The Taunton Press, had previously occupied the office space.
“We are extremely proud to have this building provided to us, and we are extremely proud to serve this town on a daily basis,” Viadero said. “This is not only our building, it’s the community’s building. Thank you very much.”
First Selectman Dan Rosenthal announced, “While this project was three years in the making for many of us, it’s been 20-plus years for the men and women of the Newtown Police Department and our Emergency Communications Center.”
He recalled how in 2015 he was elected to the Police Commission on the same day Viadero was named chief of police.
“Working with the chief and the commission, I saw firsthand the shortcomings of our 3 Main Street facility in meeting the needs of our department and our community’s public safety. While the need was clear, I don’t think we would be standing here without chief [Viadero’s] leadership,” Rosenthal said.
He added that members of the police department and emergency communications center deserve recognition, too, for serving the community with “pride, professionalism, and distinction in good times and in bad,” for which he is grateful.
Rosenthal spoke about the approval process for the project and referenced how nearly 8,000 residents supported the building on the referendum. He also mentioned the design and construction phase, and thanked the team put in place from Kaestle Boos Associates and Consigli Construction.
“Thank you, gentleman, for treating this project with such care and attention to detail,” he said. “I also want to credit our Public Building & Site and Sustainable Energy commissions. This was truly a team effort.”
Closing his remarks, Rosenthal shared a story how his grandfather, Jack Rosenthal, was first selectmen when the 3 Main Street headquarters opened in June 1981 and how happy he would be with this new location.
Police Commission Chair Joel Faxon spoke next and said that on behalf of current and former members of the commission he thanked the community for supporting the creation of this building.
“This will be able to support our police department well into the future…” Faxon said. “Newtown stands as a shining example of how even in times of perceived turmoil a community can come together overwhelmingly and support its police officers and staff and provide them with a building and a place to work that has been deserving, I think, for about 30 years.”
Viadero then introduced State Senator Tony Hwang and Representative Mitch Bolinsky, whom he said have both been strong supporters of the project.
Senator Hwang approached the podium and said, “From a State Delegation perspective, I will offer this: there cannot be a better affirmation of this community’s support for law enforcement and public safety than for the people driving through [Route] 25 to see the a shining commitment to public safety. You will always have my commitment to our law enforcement officials and the public safety of our community.”
Representative Bolinsky followed, saying, “The Newtown Police are a shining example of everything that policing should be. They are interwoven with our community. They’re respected, they’re loved, they’re trusted. This building is just a symbol, but the men and women that serve us here have our respect and will continue to have our respect. We will always have their backs.”
Bolinsky also acknowledged that the building was delivered ahead of schedule and under budget, which segued into Viadero thanking Kaestle Boos Associates and Consigli Construction for their partnership.
“Without their help we wouldn’t be here today,” Viadero said.
Charles “Chuck” Boos of Kaestle Boos Associates thanked Newtown for this “wonderful project.” He explained that from an architect’s point-of-view it was a major milestone to be selected for the project, to deliver it on time and on budget, and to have this commemorative day with a happy client.
Victor Ciancetta of Consigli Construction said on behalf of the company, “I would like to say it’s been an absolute pleasure to work on this project with this team… We appreciate the town put their faith in Consigli to build this project and we wish the entire Newtown Police Department the best in their new home.”
Following his comments was Public Building & Site Commission Chair Robert “Bob” Mitchell, who thanked the many people involved in getting the project done.
“At Public Building & Site, we had a project team of people who worked on it every week,” Mitchell said, citing Art Norton and Gus Johnson, who began working on the project in February 2019.
Viadero brought Norton up to the podium, as Johnson was not present, to personally thank both of them for their work.
He presented Norton with a plaque as a token of appreciation, “On behalf of the Town of Newtown and the Newtown Police Department, and in recognition of your selfless dedication of time and professional knowledge, which has resulted in the completion of the Newtown Police Department headquarters facility. This dedication to public service is deeply appreciated and recognized on behalf of the Newtown community.”
Viadero then recognized individuals members from Consigli Construction, including Corey Shear and Steve Flick, for their work and attention to detail.
Reverend Matthew Crebbin, of Newtown Congregational Church, gave a blessing over the building, all the people who enter it, and all those who will be served by it.
In his prayer he said, “Help all of us, Lord, in these anxious days to be free of our fear, to look to these helpers, those who defend the vulnerable, who are committed to the safety of all citizens regardless of background and circumstance. In this time of pandemic and anxiety, fill our hearts with thankfulness, guide us to live courageously, help us to all live compassionately in this moment and every moment.”
Viadero also acknowledged that Monsignor Robert Weiss from St Rose Of Lima Church had been invited to offer a blessing, but was unable to attend due to being in a 14-day quarantine.
The ceremony was concluded with a flag raising above the headquarters in honor of the late Stephen “Steve” Ketchum, a Newtown police officer who died from lung cancer that was directly attributed to his response efforts at the World Trade Center in Manhattan on September 11, 2001.
After the American flag was raised, Viadero did the honors of cutting the ceremonial ribbon to mark the official opening of the new Newtown Police Department.
He then welcomed the public to take a tour of the new facility.
For those interested in touring the Newtown Police Department headquarters at 191 South Main Street, call 203-426-5841.