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New Lehighton police station may be ready by May 1

Published March 30. 2011 05:00PM

Moving day could soon occur for the Lehighton Borough Police Department.

It was announced during a meeting of Lehighton Borough Council that the police might be able to relocate into their new headquarters by May 1.

The new location is the renovated auditorium and kitchen area of the Engine Company 2 building in the 100 block of South Third Street.

Presently, the police department is squeezed into cramped quarters in the municipal building. Although Lehighton has one of the largest full-time municipal police departments in Carbon County, the current office is probably the smallest in the county.

The new site has more than 2,000 square feet of space, compared to the present office which measures only 805 square feet.

The new station is named after the late Wilbur A. "Cap" Bauchspies, who served as mayor in Lehighton for 28 years beginning in 1969. The mayor is in charge of the borough's police department.

Bauchspies died on May 13 at the age of 81 while serving as a member of Lehighton Borough Council. His wife, Bessie, is presently a member of the council.

Scott Rehrig, vice president of the borough council, questioned Police Sergeant Joseph Lawrence about when police will be able to relocate their office.

"Can you do it by the end of April?" Rehrig asked.

Lawrence said it depends if the new site can be made functional with office and radio equipment.

It was reported that Bank of America will donate 12 desks, but the borough must pick them up at a site in Scranton. In addition, a separate piece of office equipment will be purchased for $3,300 from a supplier in Bridgeport, Montgomery County.

The borough council authorized the workforce to hire a rental truck to pick up the desks and equipment at the two locations.

Lawrence told the council there also was a problem in the new building regarding radio equipment, but that problem is being resolved.

Work on the new police station began in January 2010.

The construction project was initially slated to cost about $255,000, but once work began it was determined the heating and electrical systems needed upgrading, which resulted in additional costs and delays.

The road to finding a new home for the police department was a long and arduous. There were numerous sites considered, and even new construction was discussed, before it was decided to renovate the space previously used by the Lehighton Fire Department.

The fire department still uses the building, housing apparatus in bays that are located in the structure.

In other police-related business:

• Council agreed to allow Lawrence to apply to the Federal Communications Commission for a special frequency for the Lehighton Police Department.

Lawrence explained that the police presently have a private channel and tried to have it transferred to a pending narrow band frequency, but were informed this is a commercial frequency. The cost for the private channel will be $450.

• Mayor Donald Rehrig urged that residents keep aware of their surroundings and report anything suspicious to the Carbon County Telecommunications Commission.

• Borough resident Frank Frable of Iron Street suggested that fire police be utilized to patrol in the Community Grove.

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