DANVERS — The lobby of the Danvers Police Department now sports bulletproof glass.
The glass was installed earlier this month as the town replaced glass partitions in the lobby that were put up in 2006.
Police Chief Neil Ouellette said the lobby was reconfigured in 2006 shortly after he became chief. The department had limited funding at the time and did not install bulletproof glass.
“It wasn’t bulletproof glass in the past and we simply replicated what we had,” Ouellette said. The present police station, a gabled Colonial building at 120 Ash St., was dedicated in 1977, according to the department’s website.
The change to bulletproof glass was prompted by “incidents across the country in which police departments were assailed by gunmen,” Ouellette said.
One high-profile case occurred in Detroit in January 2011, when a man walked into the 6th precinct station and began firing indiscriminately. Four officers were injured in the shootout, which was captured on a surveillance camera. The gunman was able to leap over the counter where the officers sat and confront them at point-blank range. That prompted many communities to take a second look at police security.
Last year’s annual Town Meeting approved about $35,000 for improvements to the police station, and the work was completed earlier this month, Ouellette said.
The new bulletproof glass comes with a new speaker system, which should make it easier for police to communicate with those coming into the lobby. The former glass panels were frustratingly hard to hear through, Ouellette said.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.