It's been a tough year for police in Newtown and to help give back in this season of Thanksgiving, a grassroots group has launched a fundraising campaign for a new police headquarters.
The Newtown Police Building Fund is trying to raise $18 million during the campaign.
The town's police department has been at its current Main Street location, a converted tractor barn, since 1980. The cramped building served as home base for police efforts during the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December, where 20 first graders and six educators lost their lives.
"The building that they're in right now 15 years ago was determined to be inadequate," said Redding Police Chief Douglas Fuchs, who is the group's spokesman.
In the past, the town has planned to renovate the space but town funds have always been too tight, said Fuchs.
"It's time for this community, the community of the state of Connecticut, and the community of the United States to give something back to individuals who really have gone through so much for all of us," said Fuchs.
Space is so tight, the department's 45 officers use one room for training, writing reports, processing evidence, and eating lunch.
In the sergeant's room, a fan is duct taped next to an open window to keep the room from overheating.
In the detective division, desks are crowded together to make room for a new state-mandated interrogation room at the back.
The department only has two holding cells when most departments of a similar size have more, said Fuchs.
Another problem, officers have to walk the prisoners out of the secure holding area, and through a hallway, to process them in a neighboring room.
"It's just something that's not really acceptable. They don't have enough space in this building to fix it," said Fuchs.
To reach their goal, the group is collecting donations on its website: www.NewtownPolice.org. They have not set a deadline for raising the funds.
"They would never ask for it themselves. They haven't asked for it themselves, but we're asking for it for them," said Fuchs. "
We know there are a lot of people out there who are still seeking to make a difference and we're hoping this is one way they can do that."