Although it is still without furniture and there are files on the floors, the new $1.4 million Tisbury Police and Ambulance Facility was open for business this week. Still located on Water street and 10 times the size of its 700 square foot predecessor, it shadows the four parking spaces where the old station was once situated.

"I am extremely pleased now that we have something decent to work in," said Tisbury police chief John McCarthy. "We have a building that will serve the community for a minimum of 20 to 30 years. It's great."

There are still no "wanted posters" on the mauve walls, but the latest criminal cases and complaints are under investigation in the new facility. After moving out of the old station and into the old public works building at the cemetery, and finally into the new facility, police employees are still getting used to their new work space.

The public also will need time to understand the new set-up. The facility is open between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day. After that time, people seeking help must use an intercom to speak with someone in the building. If nobody answers, they must find a pay phone to call the department (696-4240) or dial 911 to report an emergency. Directions to the closest telephones are on the door.

If the building is open, visitors must take the elevator or the stairs to reach the reception area on the second floor. There someone sits behind a thick pane of bulletproof glass. If visitors are permitted to enter the department, they are buzzed in through one of two doors. If not, there will be tables and chairs in the waiting area.

She once sat behind a small desk with a telephone and computer, but now the receptionist's work area looks more like airport traffic control. There are monitors that allow her to watch the cruiser garage and two meeting rooms. There are outlets for a modem, fax machine and telephones. There is a flashing emergency light that signals trouble in the garage. Buttons that buzz open doors. And a radio that allows her to talk directly with communications or plug the radio into the facility's intercom system.

There are two rooms at each end of the second floor. On one side there are rooms for officers and sergeants. Each are similar in size, with high ceilings and enough room for several desks. The officers' room has gun lockers and a room for weapon repair. From their side window, boats can be seen moored in the Vineyard Haven harbor. A small area for a fax and copy machines are close by, as well as cubby holes for all police department staff.

Evidence will be stored in one of two rooms, depending on its monetary value or if it's drug related. Most of the evidence will he held in a front room that is accessible to the two sergeants, the evidence officer and the chief. There is also a high evidence room, which holds items such as guns, drugs and money. Only the chief and the evidence officer have keys to that room.

Chief McCarthy has his own office, as he did in the past. Only this time there is room for a large L-shaped desk, a small table with chairs and file cabinets. Across the hall there is a large room where meeting will take place with the department and other officials. There is also a small kitchen with a refrigerator, stove and microwave.

Originally, the elevator was going to serve the third floor. However, after the project was cut back it was decided not to make it a working floor. Now there is a steep staircase that leads to the attic from the officers' office. The attic will only serve as a storage area for old files and equipment.

The facility includes two garages, one for the town ambulance and one for a police cruiser. The ambulance garage will hold a new 101-inch vehicle that the town recently purchased. It includes locker space and a sink for cleaning up after a messy run. There is also an office with a bathroom and shower for emergency medical technician staff.

On the opposite side of the building, another garage is designated for one of the police cruisers. Inside there is a sink and counter space for fingerprinting evidence. A big red button on the wall allows officers to signal staff upstairs. And a surveillance camera monitors the entire area.

Between the two garages, there are locker rooms for both men and women. There is also a general workroom, which will hold exercise equipment and meeting space for EMTs and police.

During a recent tour, Chief McCarthy stressed that there are no cells in the facility. However, there are two interrogation rooms on the ground floor that could be converted into cells if the need arises. Both rooms have plumbing and closed circuit televisions. Until that time, the Tisbury department will continue to use the Edgartown House of Correction for booking suspects.

Construction of the building took more than a year to complete and was several months behind schedule. Initially, town officials wanted the building to be finished before the last busy summer season started. The previous building was built in 1964 and cost the town $10,000. It took less than a month to construct. The new facility remains on budget.