BPS officially moves into old Armory

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The City of Bainbridge, state government officials, National Guard soldiers and many guests dedicated the new home of Bainbridge Public Safety on a sunny Saturday morning.

The 18,925-square-foot building at 510 E. Louise St., which was recently renovated after it was purchased from Georgia Department of Defense in January, is the new home for Public Safety officers, who are dual-trained in both police work and firefighting.

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State Rep. Darlene Taylor (R-Thomasville) said the former armory would “continue to be a house of heroes.”

“I’m proud of what you do and represent,” Taylor said. “It’s an honor to serve the way you do as both police and firefighters.”

The armory had sat idle since the National Guard consolidated the 1230th Transportation Unit to Thomasville, Ga., in 2010. State Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla) said the building’s transformation was a good example of how state and local governments could partner together.

“Whether we’re doing public safety for the security of our nation or whether we are doing public safety of our community, the purpose of the building is the same—it is for public safety,” Powell said. “I know [the new headquarters] will get many years of good use and benefit the community.”

State Rep. Gene Maddox, who is retiring from the legislature in December, and State Sen. John Bulloch (R-Ochlocknee) also gave remarks honoring the service of the men and women of the Georgia Army National Guard and congratulating BPS officers.

The commanding officer of the Guard’s 1230th Transportation Unit, Second Lt. Derek Ellyson, said he started his career in the guard at the Bainbridge armory.

“The Guard is unique in that we are a community-based force,” Ellyson said. “We are thankful for what citizens give us and we are glad to serve them in times of peace and in war. This is a fitting way for us to give back for what you’ve given to us. We’re still here for you.”

Ellyson said the 1230th would deploy to Afghanistan next year, and asked for the community’s thoughts and prayers.

“To the first responders [of BPS], thank you for your service and as we pass the torch to you, please uphold the honor of this building.”

Some of the other notable persons in attendance included current BPS Director Eric Miller and almost all of his officers in uniform; former BPS chiefs Jabo Duke and Larry Funderburke; Sam M. Griffin Jr., whose father—former governor Marvin Griffin—the armory was named after; Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds, members of the Bainbridge City Council and Sheriff Wiley Griffin.

BPS Director Miller’s wife, Barbara Cliffe-Miller, sang the national anthem, accompanied by Kyle Horne on the trumpet. The Bainbridge High School Air Force ROTC Color Guard presented the flags of the United States and Georgia. Local businessman Kevin Dowdy said a prayer.