The 7.4 million dollar re-build of the Wellfleet police station that is about to be rubber-stamped at a Special Town Meeting Tuesday is a quantum leap in police station infrastructure in a town whose population has for 15 years or so plateaued. All indications are that, if anything, the population will not rise in the forseeable future, and may begin to decline.

Policing should have some logical connection with the number of people being policed. And that should have some logical connection with the amount of building required to accommodate that policing.

In early 1980s when the building to be re-built was constructed for police and fire, the town was growing and grew slowly for the next 15 years or so. But by well before 2009, when the new fire station was built, also at something like $7 million, our population had levelled off. This inflation in infrastructure when the population being served by it stays the same seems absurd in town that purports to care about keeping life affordable. If nobody will be hurt by the increased taxes, if we all have plenty of money for luxuries, sure, spend away. But there seems little doubt that we could address the real needs of current police force (like a room besides the kitchen in which to meet the public) for a fraction of 7.4 million dollars.

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