Rear of Haverhill Police Station to Receive $150,000 Canopy to Protect Officers From Falling Snow, Ice

Rear of Haverhill Police Station. (WHAV News file photograph.)

It will take another $150,000 to reconfigure the rear of the Haverhill Police station to guard against snow and ice falling off solar panels and endangering officers.

Two rear doors of the station used by officers were declared off limits after last week’s snow storm. An internal memorandum noted the detective’s and traffic and safety office’s doors are to be avoided. The memo notes, “The pitch of the roof above these two doors (and the area between these two doors) is such that the potential for sliding ice or snow is high as melting takes place.”

Capt. Robert P. Pistone says the Patrolmen’s Union complained falling snow almost hit an officer last week. A new rear roofing system has been designed, but he says it cannot be installed until spring. The city will pay about $150,000 for the awning-like structure. Pistone adds the department is “pleased the problem is finally going to be addressed.”

Haverhill Police Patrolmen’s Union President Rick Welch said he notified Chief DeNaro of his concerns. He told WHAV, “It’s not just officers. It is a safety concern for anyone entering and leaving the building. People who are victims of crime or people coming from other agencies use these entrances with us. We bring people in and out of these entrances in the course of our daily business.”

He said he has not seen a drawing of the planned canopy, but understands it consists of a freestanding “protective covering, over the entry points.”

The problem has caused anxiety for the last two years. Back in April of 2017, the began taking electricity from the rooftop solar panels. At the time, Chief Alan R. DeNaro told WHAV the department was not consulted in advance even though it was clear to him and his officers, an “avalanche” of snow would fall from the array. At the time, contractor MassAmerican Energy erected a snow guard which, but the chief called it a “band-aid approach,” noting it is too low to hold back falling snow.

In the spring of 2018, city councilors allocated about $96,000 for an engineering consultant to oversee repairs to the roof, which also began leaking after the solar panels were installed. Councilors also expected the money to have the consultant provide evidence that MassAmerican was at fault for the damage. The outcome of that assessment isn’t clear.

The issue does not affect the transport of prisoners to the station since they are brought through a secure garage “sally port.”

Comments are closed.