Gulfport opens new safety center, honors fallen police officers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport opens new safety center, honors fallen police officers

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Elizabeth Vowell - email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The City of Gulfport has had many ribbon cuttings post Katrina, but none quite as emotional as the official opening of the Robert J. Curry Public Safety Center.

For the officers and employees who work there, the Curry Center is so much more than a building.

"From where we were at that time to where we are today, we moved into FEMA trailers, from FEMA trailers to a school, and from a school to here. When you look at crime reduction in this city, I think that speaks volumes for our employees," said Gulfport Police Chief Alan Weatherford.

The Gulfport Police Department has been through a lot in five years. Now, the department can finally settle into a new home that is not only tailored it its needs, but also honors its fallen brothers.

The Robert J. Curry Public Safety Center bears the name of an officer killed in the line of duty two years ago.

"I love it. It's very good for the officers, and the whole department. It's a good reminder of Rob and to keep his memory alive," said Robert Curry's widow Leslee Curry, who is also an officer for the Gulfport Police Department.

During the emotional ribbon cutting, Curry's family, some of whom traveled all the way from New York, offered their thanks for keeping his legacy alive.

The center will serve as a living tribute to all of Gulfport's fallen police officers, eight in total.  Each room in the building bears the name of one of those brave men.

"It's those kind of things it's important to hold on to, and let these new police officers realize they're not just part of a police department, but a history of policing," said Deputy Chief Leonard Papania.

With the new building officially open, officers are excited to move forward with a state of the art center that reflects their dedication to duty.

The Gulfport Municipal Court is also located in the Curry Center, and was dedicated as well.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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