The Brimfield Township Police Department, which has been working out of a former auto body shop for the past 20 years, is nearing the end of a $1.46 million renovation of its headquarters on Tallmadge Road.



Police Chief David Oliver quipped that the old station was like “having 12 hamsters in a shoebox.”



“Quite frankly, the only thing we could get in there was a table big enough to seat eight. Through the years, we’ve used that table for everything from processing prisoners to eating lunch. Let me tell you, we went through a lot of bleach,” he said.



The department has kept the table for sentimental reasons.



The money for an addition as well as a face-lift of the old building came from a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities 30-year low-interest loan. It will be repaid with funding the township receives from the joint economic development district agreements with Kent and Tallmadge.



The township also received a second $400,000 loan to pay for a new Pierce Pumper Fire Engine, replacing a 30-year-old model and an 18-year-old rescue truck/mini-pumper combo. Brimfield Township contributed $40,354 toward the apparatus.



“Few things are more important to a community than a sense of well-being and safety. These first responders have our backs, and this beautiful new safety services center will help to protect the people of Brimfield Township for generations to come,” Tony Logan, state director of Ohio Rural Development, said in a news release. “This is a perfect example of how USDA Community Facilities loans help build sustainable communities.”



Patti Harjung, administrative assistant to the chief, said work on the addition began in the spring and was completed in October. It includes three holding cells that, for the first time, meet state standards.



The new addition was shown off last weekend at an open house that more than 400 residents attended, she said.



When the addition was complete, the department moved in while work began to gut and remodel the old building. That work will likely continue through January, when it will become the new records department and evidence room.



When all the work is done, the police department will have nearly tripled in size, Harjung said.



Brimfield police employ 15 full-time officers and three civilians, serving a community of about 10,000.



The federal loan program Brimfield used supports the “rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values,” a USDA handout said.



Beacon Journal staff writer Paula Schleis can be reached at 330-996-3741 or at pschleis@thebeaconjournal.com.