By MOHAMED HAMALUDIN
Special to South Florida Times
MIRAMAR, Fla.– The Miramar police department’s decade-long wait for a new home came to an end last week when officials dedicated a 65,000-square-foot headquarters building in the municipal complex that also includes City Hall.
“This facility represents the future for the city of Miramar and our residents,” Mayor Wayne M. Messam said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the building at the Miramar Town Center, 2300 Civic Center Place.
Residents joined the mayor and commissioners, along with Broward Commissioner Barbara Sharief, who represents the area, for the dedication.
Attendees also observed a minute of silence in honor of the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Police Chief Dexter M. Williams recalled the destruction caused by the hurricane which badly damaged the department’s headquarters in 2005 and the difficulties the force had in maintaining law enforcement services.
“Some of us were working in our cars, some of us were working in the parking lot,” Williams told the gathering.
As plans were being drawn up for a replacement building, the department operated out of temporary offices in the Miramar Park of Commerce.
The new building has a price tag of $28,595, 753, of which $16,845,000 came from a revenue bond. Construction began in January 2015 and the structure, which has just been completed, has earned Gold Leadership in Energy Design (LEED) certification.
It will be home to a police force of 198 sworn officers and 70 support staff, headed by Williams, a New York native of Jamaican descent who has been living in Miramar for 23 years.
The force serves a fast-growing 56-year-old city of 124,000 residents, 45.7 percent of whom are African Americans, and is led by an all-black commission.