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Troop M moves to new home

Operations from the new Mississippi Highway Patrol facility onHighway 84 began in earnest Friday after an afternoon publicdedication and grand opening ceremony.

The new 13,275 square foot facility will house the HighwayPatrol’s enforcement offices, driver’s license division and theMississippi Bureau of Investigation. Operations officially began atthe new station Friday as the troopers finished moving equipmentand personal effects.

Troop M’s headquarters is only the second station in the statein which all three divisions of MHP’s operations will be housed.The first was built in Batesville, which also serves a satellite ofthe crime lab.

“It’s what we call a full service station,” said Deputy PublicSafety Commissioner Ron Ford.

The construction of the new $1.3 million facility has been acooperative effort between the Mississippi Legislature, numerousstate agencies and local government. Legislators praised Brookhavencity officials for their fast action and their donation of propertyfor the facility.

“The move from the old Troop M Headquarters is a monumental day,but what is equally as significant is that the project came in 14percent below cost projections, a savings to the state of more than$200,000,” said Public Safety Commissioner David Huggins.

Ford called the savings “nearly unprecedented” and praised PaulJackson and Son Construction of Brookhaven for their work onkeeping costs down.

The move is the first for the Troop M Headquarters since themid-1950s when they moved into the 2,100 square foot facility onHighway 51.

“It was small, cramped and outdated, but we leave there with alot of personal sentiments because of the people we met and theevents that occurred that we will no longer see daily remindersof,” said Capt. James, Vines, commander of Troop M.

Some of those memories may be transferred with personal effects,but others may come with the U.S. flag. The state and federal flagsthat flew over the old facility were briefly flown over the newfacility. The flags were then presented during the ceremony.

Chief Billie T. Hughes, a former Troop M captain and the oldestliving captain in the Southern Enforcement District, was presentedwith the state flag in honor of the past service of Troop Mofficers. Vines, on behalf of the present troopers, was presentedwith the federal flag for display in a place of honor at the newfacility.

Public officials who spoke at the ceremony were very succinct.They congratulated the gathered troopers on their new facility andtold them they were proud to have helped in its construction.

“I couldn’t be happier than where this building is built,” saidSheriff Lynn Boyte, noting it was bordered by the city, county,Bogue Chitto, Easthaven Baptist Church (representing God) and theNational Guard Armory (representing the federal government). “It’sin the heart of Lincoln County.”

The expanded offices of the driver’s license bureau werementioned several times during the ceremony.

“Anyone coming in for driver’s licenses will find the experiencemuch more pleasant than in the past,” said Col. LM Claiborne Jr.,director of the MHP. “At the old troop headquarters, the driverservices area was cramped. The new facility will have ample roomfor license renewal as well as testing.”

“That means less waiting time,” Ford said.

Huggins said they realized a new station was necessary becauseof the expanded role of law enforcement and continued growth ofLincoln County.