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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

City unveils long-awaited SPD headquarters

Katie Poe | The Reflector
City unveils long-awaited SPD headquarters

After nearly 20 years of struggle, the Starkville Police Department now has a place to call its own.

At a ceremony held on Oct. 13, the city dedicated the newly renovated, former city hall building at 101 East Lampkin St as Starkville Police Department headquarters. 

According to Gary Shafer, the project’s architect, the historic building is about 70 years old.

“This is a wonderful building,” Shafer said at the dedication. “What I’m really excited to think about is, 70 years ago there was a different crowd sitting here looking at this beautiful, brand new building they had just built. Now, here we are, 70 years later looking at this beautiful, brand new building we have with 70 years of history on top of it.”

Starkville Police Chief Frank Nichols said he is grateful the department now has a sufficient home.

“We said before we started this project that we needed an A1 facility,” Nichols said. “I’m here to tell you we have an A1 facility.”

Nichols said since the project began, the police department has been housed at seven different locations. Since 2000, city officials have searched for a place to house the department with no luck.

In the past, board members talked about purchasing property in several places, including near the Highway 25 bypass and the former Bulldog Lanes building on Highway 12. They also looked at buying the Cadence Bank building.

Then, the Board of Aldermen decided to renovate the former city hall.

Work on the project began in August 2016.

However, there were some issues with the project that delayed its completion. After removing the ceiling in one part of the building, officials noticed a couple of load-bearing walls had been taken out. Then, the renovation was further delayed when initial bids came in over budget.

The project spanned several boards, and for eight years responsibility for the renovation sat on the shoulders of former Mayor Parker Wiseman.

At the dedication, Wiseman said officially opening the police department on Friday the 13th was fitting because of the unlucky circumstances the city and police had to go through to complete it.

“In our 20-year odyssey of getting to this day, we have seen many literal and figurative Friday the 13ths come and go,” Wiseman said. “Today, on this, the thirteenth day of October on a Friday, we celebrate the beginning of a new era and the end of that era.”

He said the city wanted nothing short of the best for the police department. He said the reason they were able to overcome all the project’s problems was because of the strength of the policemen and policewomen.

“The thought that I’m left standing here with today is, ‘How did we get from that moment of heartbreak to this moment of triumph?'” Wiseman said. “I think that story is the men and women of the Starkville Police Department. They woke up and did what they always do. They serve with honor, integrity and never for a moment did they pout. There was no blue flu.”

Instead, Wiseman said he received thanks and encouragement from the police.

Nichols said while not all employees stayed through the struggle, the ones that did never complained about not having a station.

“You didn’t complain,” Nichols said. “We didn’t have a home. We were uncertain. The project failed and in the middle of it we were moved out. We were in seven different locations. There are some people that I probably haven’t seen in two months because we were so spread out, but, y’all stayed with me and I’ll always be grateful.”

Wiseman said he has no doubt the police force will continue serving the community with integrity, and now, they have a headquarters to help them do that.

“I know they’re going to wake up with courage, determination and resolve,” Wiseman said. “They’re going to walk into this facility and make sure that we’re safe.”

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
City unveils long-awaited SPD headquarters