Public safety building worthy of celebration

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 16, 2003

It was a glorious day in North Suffolk Wednesday as the community’s $3.4 million public safety building was dedicated.

City officials were joined by police and fire personnel in an often moving tribute to the firefighters and police officers and an expression of their combined commitment to serving the needs of all Suffolk’s citizens.

Council member Linda Johnson, who represents the borough and lobbied hard for the facility, was justifiably proud of the place, and noted it was a far cry from the time not so far in the past when the only public safety presence in the area was the occasional patrol car that would drive through.

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Perhaps the most moving moment was when a plaque was unveiled for former Police Chief Gilbert Franklin &uot;Spud&uot; Jackson who served in that capacity from 1976-1996. While the former Marine was overcome with emotion, he nonetheless was humble, crediting the rank and file officers for the success he enjoyed.

As Johnson noted in her remarks, the improved response time that will result from the facility’s presence could be the difference between life and death.

While much focus – not unjustifiably – has been on reinvigorating downtown, it was satisfying to see and hear the commitment officials have to the entire city. After all, It’s primarily North Suffolk residents who are responsible for the increase in property tax collections and the wonderful, state-of-the-art facility is nothing less than the community deserves as payback.