Public Safety Center open for business

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Sirens pierced the air Wednesday, heralding the long-awaited grand opening of the North Suffolk Public Safety Center, as city leaders snipped the ribbon in front of the newly opened building.

More than 100 firefighters, police officers, city officials and a handful of northern Suffolk residents turned out to the event celebrating the opening of the $3.4 million, 21,000-square-foot building on Route 17, near Interstate 664.


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More than half of the building -12,800-square-feet – will be devoted to Fire Precinct No. 5.

The spacious three-bay fire station will be home to an engine, an aerial ladder truck, a rescue truck and a couple of ambulances. The precinct will include sleeping quarters for 21 firefighters, a training room, an air supply room, and physical fitness room.

Nearly 9,000-square-feet of the structure will make Police Precinct #2, replacing a temporary storefront precinct opened near Burbage Grant two years ago. The new precinct includes a drive-thru sally port for prisoner intake, two holding cells, and rooms for interviewing, crime scene analysis, evidence receiving and storage and office.

The remainder of the building will house a backup emergency communications center.

Public safety officers dedicated the new public safety center to two of their own – the late Fire Marshal Randy Parker, who devoted more than 36 years to the Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue, and Former Police Chief Gilbert &uot;Spud&uot; Jackson, who led the city’s police department for two decades before his retirement in the late 1990s.

In the city’s wish books for decades, the public safety building has been direly needed to accommodate the city’s rapid growth in northern Suffolk. It will provide an invaluable service to residents of that area, said Councilwoman Linda T. Johnson, who represents the Sleepy Hole district.

&uot;This is as state-of-the-art facility that …will provide a direct return on residents’ quality of life,&uot; Johnson said &uot;People can know dialing 911 will bring prompt professional service.

&uot;When there is a shorter response time, there is more of a chance for a better ending.&uot;

Paid firefighters and volunteer firefighters will work in concert to provide quality, professional service, she said.

Opening the permanent police precinct will continue to improve security for the growing number of residents moving into the area, she said

Erica Robinson, a Burbage Grant resident who has repeatedly appealed to council for an increased police presence in her community, applauded the opening.

&uot;This project is my baby,&uot; said Robertson. &uot;I’m so glad to see it’s finally opening.

&uot;It’s an incredible station and an awesome asset for the area.&uot;