Town and law enforcement officials celebrated an early Christmas present Saturday morning as they officially opened the doors to the new Acushnet Police Station. 

The new 11,000 sq. ft. facility is located at 46 Middle Road adjacent to the town's EMS facilities.

The department previously worked out of the Parting Ways Building on Main Street since 1972, but officials agree the new station was "long overdue."

Chairman of the town's Board of Selectmen, David Wojnar, said town residents and taxpayers also realized this need and graciously approved funding for the project.

"We're living in a very difficult time right now, serving the public is a difficult job," Wojnar told the crowd of a few dozen residents outside the new station. "We felt it was absolutely critical to provide the men and women of this department with the tools and the resources they need to do the job in order to protect you. It would be an absolute crime to have these folks serve in the facility that they were in for the years that they had been."

Police Chief Michael Alves said the $5.7 million dollar project was completed on budget after three years of construction and will provide a much safer atmosphere for both law enforcement and the public.

"This beautiful building is a necessary part of the infrastructure for the town that allows the police and the public to interact in a safe and efficient manner. Individuals who need police services can now receive assistance without being subject to unnecessary risks," Alves said.

Alves said the space in the Parting Ways Building was cramped and the public was exposed to various dangers while maneuvering through the building.

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson also thanked the community for funding the construction of the new building, and emphasized the importance of their support of law enforcement.

"Law enforcement's been put on the front line of defense for this nation and without the necessary equipment, without the resources and particularly at a time when there's been so much demonetization of law enforcement, this community has stepped up and really done something that is really meaningful," said Hodgson.

The new station will house 24 police officers and two civilian dispatchers.

The facility is still undergoing construction but the department will officially take possession of the building Wednesday, December 9.