FAIRVIEW, N.J. — Walk into the current Fairview police station and you may rub elbows with incoming prisoners, domestic violence victims or patrolmen switching posts.
The new building under construction next door was designed to make sure that none of that will happen.
Chief Martin Kahn and Capt. Vincent Bellucci helped design all three floors with an emphasis on the safety, security and privacy of everyone inside
"We put a lot of thought into these aspects," Kahn told Daily Voice. "In today's day and age, you want to take every precaution you can. You don't want anyone hurt."
The project is funded by a $9.5 million bond, bringing the police station and municipal building into a brand-new, three-story building next door.
The old building -- where the department and municipal officers are now -- will come down (as did the one next door where construction is currently under way) to be replaced with a parking lot.
"It's going to be a big change for us," Kahn said.
Albeit, a necessary one, he added.
A fail-safe sally port controlled through the front desk is among the additions to the department that the chief is most eagerly anticipating. It will lead directly into the processing room for mugshots, breathalyzer tests and fingerprinting with security cameras.
"Everything is going to be access-control," Kahn said. "It's a big change for us. Costly, but needed."
The new station will have two jail cells -- as opposed to just one -- that are juvenile and handicap-complaint. There will be a soundproof interview room and a juvenile interview room/holding cell.
Another important addition is the evidence room, located in the back of the new building, which will be among the largest in the department. All police evidence needs to be kept indefinitely, and tends to take up a lot space.
The new room will have condensing doors and lockers with limited access to evidence.
Right now, the department uses a donated mailbox from the post office to drop evidence, before the designated officer brings it to a secured room. Kahn explained it's not an ideal situation, but the new room will be.
Other rooms in the department include a large detective bureau with five desks, a server room, dispatcher room with cameras connected to the borough-wide security system and other small offices.
It will be a big change from the two rooms that nearly 10 officers are occupying on the second floor of the police station currently.
"The biggest change will be function," Kahn said. "We're used to being on top of each other."
An elevator in the middle of the building -- with double-sided access for police and public -- will lead upstairs to the municipal court, complete with additional storage space for legal documents.
The judge, prosecutor and public defender officers are along the back wall above the sally port, and have a crawlspace escape route to the fire exit.
A large room in the back of the second floor will be a caucus room for closed-session meetings and will double as a training room and break room for police.
The police currently use the courtroom for training purposes.
The third floor will have municipal offices that boast a balcony and sprawling views of the Manhattan skyline.
Kahn said the construction is expected to be complete in the spring.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.