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In a heartwarming ceremony, the Homestead community gathered to celebrate the opening of Homestead Police Department’s Temporary Police Station. On Wednesday, March 25, 2015 over one hundred police officers, community members, City staff, dignitaries, and Homestead’s Mayor & Council gathered at the new facility located at the Homestead Sports Complex at 1601 SE 28th Avenue—just 10 minutes from the old location on Krome Avenue.
The ceremony began with a heartfelt blessing of gratitude and thanks by Homestead Police Department’s new Police Chaplain, Reverend Chauncey Brown. The Homestead Police Honor Guard then performed the presentation of colors and Homestead Police Major Scott Kennedy led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Following this, Homestead Mayor & Council offered brief remarks thanking Homestead citizens for supporting the Police Department in their mission to protect the community and Police Officers for their dedication to do so.
During City Manager George Gretsas’ remarks the celebration became truly moving. Mr. Gretsas called the Officers in attendance up to the podium to be recognized—they had been standing in the back throughout the entire ceremony in order to offer seating to community members, reflecting their commitment to Homestead’s citizens. After the Officers made their way to the front in an eruption of thunderous applause, Homestead Police Chief Al Rolle gave closing remarks.
“I have never seen a community so committed to helping out,” said Chief Rolle. “That’s the reason I’m still here after 35 years. Never once did we ask for help and not receive it. The City Manager saw the problems we had and took action. Mayor Porter, Vice Mayor Shelley and the whole City Council—Councilman Burgess, Councilwoman Fairclough, Councilman Maldonado, Councilwoman Waldman, and Councilman Williams—didn’t hesitate to approve asking the voters for help and our residents spoke loud and clear to show their support. It’s been heartwarming to see my staff here with smiles on their faces, finally breathing fresh air after being in a sick building for so long. Thank you all so much.”
The old police station presented several issues such as radon and mold contamination, outdated facilities, and other safety concerns. In fact, radon levels inside the old police station are five times higher than they should be and radon is the leading cause of lung cancer amongst non-smokers. Additionally, when the building was first constructed in 1912, Homestead Police serviced only 121 residents. Today, Homestead has more than 60,000 residents. The old station is too small, ill-equipped for 21st century law enforcement, and fails to meet many FEMA and ADA standards.
Funding has been provided for the Temporary Police Station and a new Police Station due to the May 2014 Special Election. The vast majority of Homestead voters, 74%, voted in favor of the Bond for the new facilities. The temporary location will be the home of Police operations until the new station, to be located Downtown, is completed.
For more information on the move, visit www.cityofhomestead.com/policestation or call (305) 224-5515.