New elevator coming to Transportation Center

Inside the Brattleboro Transportation Center.

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BRATTLEBORO — Following a car theft by knifepoint on Sunday after other troubling incidents at the Transportation Center, Town Manager John Potter announced efforts to hire security personnel and additional Department of Public Works maintenance staff dedicated to the parking garage.

“We’ve been working on different options for hiring some security services for this location on a seven days a week basis to supplement our police patrols in the area,” he said at the Select Board meeting Tuesday. “This would give the town a constant presence with eyes and ears at this location. Staff believe this would be a viable and cost effective approach.”

Potter anticipates he will bring a proposal before the Select Board at its June 6 meeting. Town staff believe it would be “a viable and cost effective approach,” he said.

“Having security at the Transportation Center at all times is expected to have a positive benefit for a place that has obviously been seeing more than its fair share of unacceptable behaviors,” he said.

New cameras have been ordered for the garage.

“They have all been ordered and the contractor is waiting for delivery to schedule an installation date on those,” Potter said. About 13 cameras “will give complete coverage of the area.”

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Dick DeGray, former board member who started requesting a board meeting agenda item to discuss new cameras in the garage last May and would like to see them installed in other areas, expressed disappointment with how long the project has taken to complete. Mark Younger of Brattleboro called for more police presence near the Transportation Center.

“We do try to have as many patrols as we can,” Police Chief Norma Hardy said. “As you know, I’ve been down staff so much, I am just now being able to fill some of our empty ranks.”

Security guards won’t replace police but will complement their efforts, Hardy said.

New hires will be going through the Vermont Police Academy and Potter spoke of the potential for two retired officers to fill in for the summer.

Board member Peter “Fish” Case said that in light of what happened at the Transportation Center on Sunday, he met with Windham Southeast Supervisory Union Superintendent Mark Speno and leaders of the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro, the Brattleboro Police Department, Downtown Brattleboro Alliance and Windham County Safe Place about “creating safety zones for kids to feel safe in.”

“Right now, we’re trying to focus on a pilot program that will focus on the Transportation Center and safety,” Case said.