'Horrible' Police Station Demolished

By John Deming, Atlantic News Staff Writer

Atlantic News, Friday, February 18, 2005

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]

1963 -- Hampton Police Station -- 2005
[HPD Courtesy photo]
DOWN IT GOES -- Hampton's old police station is demolished to help provide more parking for the new one behind it. [Atlantic News Photo by John Deming]
The newly constructed Hampton Police Facility, 100 Brown Ave., Hampton, 2005.
[Photo by James S. Barrington, Hampton Town Manager, not in original article.]

HAMPTON -- With one swift stroke from the behind the controls of a giant yellow Caterpillar, Police Chief Bill Wrenn bashed through a roof and stone wall — and that was all she wrote for one of the most inefficient police stations in the state.

"It was very satisfying," said Wrenn.

Demolition began last week on the town's old police station, a facility built as "temporary" in 1963 and used until early this year, when the boys in green moved into their brand new facility.

Both Wrenn and Town Manager James Barrington got a chance to take part in the destruction, with Wrenn getting first dibs.

Any nostalgia? Some, but not much.

"Tearing down the building is sort of bittersweet," Wrenn said. "I spent my career there; there's certainly a lot of memories."

But Wrenn admitted that vacating and destroying the building was a process long overdue.

"It was such a horrible building, and a horrible environment for employees," he said. "It was unhealthy and unsafe."

Wrenn has said that mold, lack of ventilation and cramped conditions led to sinus infections and other maladies in employees.

"People would see the old one and probably think, 'What a crappy building, this must be a crappy police department," he said.

Wrenn said it was a bit fun using the construction equipment.

"It's like being in a big Tonka truck," he said. "I was joking that this was going to be my second career."

Once the rubble is cleared, the land will be used as a new beach parking lot, according to officials.

The transition into the new building has been smooth and successful, Wrenn said.