Gunnedah’s new multi-million-dollar station has opened and local police believe it will attract new officers to town and boost morale.
The run-down station from 1963 has been replaced with new state-of-the-art buildings, which were officially opened on Tuesday in front of police staff, retired police officers, community members and special guests.
NSW Police Association local member Damian Wood said the investment had buoyed the spirits of Gunnedah’s police officers.
“Once we found out, through to today, the morale has improved dramatically,” he said.
“It’s a great day for Gunnedah. To have a station like this can only benefit the community of Gunnedah.”
Mayor Jamie Chaffey said residents had been calling for a new facility for some time.
“It’s a significant moment for the community,” he said.
“I hope this is a turning point for us as a community in attracting new men and women in blue to take up vacancies that exist here.
“There’s no doubt that we have a vibrant and growing community that is changing in the way we work and the hours we work, so all of our emergency services need to be able to react but also to have a facility to continue to do their job to such a high standard.”
The official party at the opening included Oxley Superintendent Fred Trench, Deputy Police Commissioner Gary Worboys, police minister Troy Grant and Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council’s Mitchum Neave.
Deputy Commissioner Worboys said Gunnedah’s police officers “deserve” the new station.
"I think today is a huge cornerstone in terms of policing here in Gunnedah,” he said.
Minister Grant said both he and his father worked at the station a number of times in the past and it had been worn down over the years.
“To be frank, it was well past its use-by date,” he said.
Minister Grant said while “bricks and mortar don’t prevent crime”, the new station enabled police to work “more efficiently and effectively”, enabling officers to spend more time out in the community.
“I know this building will serve everyone well, long into the future,” he said.
The $8.2 million police station project consists of two buildings – an administration building, which was completed mid-year, and a holding facility, which is yet to be completed.
The holding facility will include a secured van dock, two large cells, a number of docks, an interview room and a meeting room. Workers will also construct an enclosed walkway from the holding facility to Gunnedah Court House.