Waveland breaks ground on new police station

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Nearly four years after Waveland police say Katrina forced them to swim out of their old police department, officers can finally look forward to moving into a new building. On Saturday, Waveland officials broke ground on a new police department on McLaurin Street. Officials say the building will carry the names of two people instrumental to making Waveland the city it is today.

Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo said he not only admires how the city's police officers braved hurricane Katrina but also how they've weathered the hardships that have come in the years since the storm.

"It's very difficult for them to recover and get back to some sense of normalcy until they get a home," said Mayor Longo. "Today marks the ground breaking of bringing them back to their home."

Waveland officers said they are happy to finally break ground on a $5.9 million home, and even happier that the public safety complex will be named for the city's first police chief Donald Dorn.

Current chief James Varnell said during the ceremony, "I do want to thank Donald for being my mentor and putting up with me for those years you were the chief. Laughing at me after suggesting that I might be the chief of police after you."

Donald Dorn spent 27 years on the police force. He said in the early days he sometimes patrolled the streets without pay. Now his sacrifices are being honored.

"It's wonderful," said Dorn. "I've been with them for a good many years, and this is the first time this ever happened to me."

The building will also be named in honor of the late Johnny Longo who served as mayor of Waveland from 1974 to 1990. Longo's children and grandchildren are proud of the legacy he left.

Christine Longo said her father was a "very honorable man, very strong person, I learned my work ethic from him."

Waveland police say the new police department will not only make their jobs easier, it will benefit the entire community because it is centrally located.

City court will also be located in the building which should be completed in the fall of 2010.

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