BERLIN — Those being held in the police station lockup will no longer be behind bars once a project to replace the cell doors is complete.
The new doors will have a metal frame encasing solid pieces of translucent security plastic, preventing inmates from being able to tie anything to the door, said Jeffrey Jagoe, who works for Tomlinson Hawley Patterson, one of contractors selected for the work.
Police Chief John Klett said the change is long overdue. An inmate attempted to hang himself using the bars in 2016. Fortunately, officers were alerted by a dispatcher and were able to intervene. Klett said the incident could have ended differently.
“The liability is tremendous for the town,” he said. “We don’t want to see anybody get hurt down there.”
Since the incident, the department has kept an officer stationed outside the cells whenever a person is being held, sometimes requiring overtime pay. Klett said the overtime has cost the department as much as $35,000 a year.
The Town Council recently approved spending $251,000 for the work. Bismark Construction of Milford is the second contractor on the project
Work can begin once the materials have been shipped from the supplier in Ohio. Jagoe is hoping to have the project completed in August.
Klett said prisoners can be transferred to the New Britain Police Department while Berlin’s cells are being renovated.
“It brings a safer condition for anyone that unfortunately has to spend some time in lockup,” said Mayor Mark Kaczynski.
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