APD dedicates new station

Published 10:26 am Tuesday, July 21, 2009

AHOSKIE – A vision is now reality.

Dignitaries from Ahoskie, Hertford County and the surrounding region came together Monday morning to celebrate the culmination of a vision of the Ahoskie Town Council and the Ahoskie Police Department.

A crowd gathered to dedicate the brand new Ahoskie Police Department building and celebrate with the officers and the town.

“I want to personally thank all the members of the Ahoskie Police Department,” said APD Major Jimmy Asbell. “Welcome to your new home away from home. Enjoy it. You deserve it.”

There was a joyous spirit in the crowd as Mayor Linda Blackburn, APD Chief Troy Fitzhugh, the Ahoskie Town Council and a crowd of well-wishers heard from those responsible for the vision that led to the new building.

“Thank you for all being here and joining us as we dedicate this beautiful building,” Mayor Blackburn said. “I’m pleased to work with a town council and town manager (Tony Hammond) who have vision.”

Blackburn also commended the people for who the building was built: the officers of the Ahoskie Police Department.

“With all the beauty of the building, the equipment and everything we have, the real beauty is the men and women of the Ahoskie Police Department,” Blackburn said.

Then, turning to the officers gathered at the dedication ceremony, Blackburn said, “Thank you for all you do. We pray for your safety every day.”

Mayor Pro-Tempore Ronald Gatling also spoke about the vision that led to the building. He said he remembered many years ago when he and fellow Town Councilman O.S. “Buck” Suiter met with then Ahoskie Police Chief Steve Hoggard to discuss the need for a new police station.

He said during the years, the plans have changed and many times the principal players have had to start anew, but it was all worth it now that the building was completed.

“I stand here elated,” he said. “I’m happy for the vision we had and didn’t give up on.”

Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce Director Jerry Castelloe extended congratulations on behalf of the business community.

“Today is a great day for Ahoskie,” Castelloe said. “To the mayor, town manager, chief of police and men and women of the Ahoskie Police Department, from the business community I say congratulations. We’re excited for you.”

Also offering congratulations were other law enforcement officials including Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan and Judicial District 6B Attorney Valerie M. Asbell.

“It’s a wonderful day,” Asbell said. “This is a tremendous building and it will do the town a lot of good.”

Asbell also said that former Chief Hoggard and Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb, who were officers with the APD in the past, would be greatly appreciative of the new building. Both men were in attendance to support the current APD staff as they moved into the new building.

“I appreciate the Ahoskie Police Department,” Asbell added. “I believe God ordained these officers to protect us. I don’t think we say thank you enough.”

Sheriff Vaughan remembered starting his law enforcement career with the Ahoskie Police Department and said he was happy to see the officers finally have a new home. He commended the council for the vision of getting the facility.

“It is great to have a facility like this because it is good for the work environment,” he said. “That improves work for everyone.”

On hand to offer congratulations were also Susan Christensen of the U.S.D.A. Rural Development, Russell Pearlman of The Wooten Company and John Bassett of JBI, Inc.

All offered their congratulations on the building being completed and their thanks for working on a project that went so smoothly.

Following their thoughts, Major Asbell spoke on behalf of the APD, honoring Mayor Blackburn, the town council, Town Manager Tony Hammond, Assistant Town Manager Evelyn Howard, USDA, the Wooten Company, JBI and all the other town departments.

Hertford County Commissioner DuPont L. Davis spoke on behalf of the county, offering congratulations and his best wishes with the new building.

“I’m a Hertford County Commissioner, but I’m also a citizen of Ahoskie and I’m proud of what we do here,” he said. “Chief, I don’t’ mind paying taxes to help pay for this building.”

The ceremony began with the raising of the colors by Sheriff Vaughan, Mayor Blackburn and Officer Ty Metzler along with the Hertford County High School color guard. The national anthem was sung by Anthony Fitzhugh and Jessica Jackson.

After the ceremony, citizens were given a tour of the new police department.