MELBOURNE - A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Sept. 14 for the Melbourne Police Department’s Joseph Pellicano Law Enforcement Center at 250 W. NASA Blvd., near the intersection with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
According to a release from the City of Melbourne, the Center, which will be completed in 2024, will be a 76,390 sq. ft. two-story building. The size of the property is just over 14 acres.
Over $32 million was awarded to construct the facility with voters in Melbourne approving a referendum to finance the design and construction of the facility “through general obligation bonds via referendum on Nov. 6, 2018,” per the release.
“It means something not just to me but….members of our agency are excited and it means even more knowing that our community supported this at the ballot to be able to make sure that they have value in their police department and they appreciate us and that the voters voted for this police department which means everything to me,” said Melbourne Police Department chief David Gillespie.
Some of the facility’s features will include ”new operational areas,” “space for on-site training to help reduce overtime and prevent scheduling conflicts,” a community room for officers and residents, “outbuildings on the site that include covered storage for oversized vehicles,” an auxiliary building for evidence analysis and storage, “storage not requiring climate control,” secure storage areas for impounded vehicles and equipment and the ability “to withstand a Category 5 hurricane,” the City says in the release.
Additionally, “all divisions will be together under one roof to improve service to victims, make emergency response more efficient, and streamline information sharing.”
“I think besides the design, it’s going to be state of the art. It’s actually going to be the only Cat 5 building. It will house our emergency response if we have (a) hurricane,” said Melbourne mayor Paul Alfrey. “We don’t have that now. It’s also going to bring everybody together in one building. Now, if you work in one building, you have to go to another building and maybe meet with somebody so this will really bring all the operations together and so I think at the end of the day, it just makes sense. It shows where Melbourne is at, that we’re an amazing growing city and we support our public safety.”
The facility is named after former Melbourne Police Department Officer Joseph Pellicano, who was killed in action on Oct. 17, 1986 after being struck while directing traffic at a house fire on Sarno Road.
Mr. Pellicano served as a patrol officer with MPD for three-and-a-half years. He earned an exceptional duty service bar twice from MPD, including once in 1983 for “pulling a person from a burning building,” per the release.
Additionally, he was working towards his associate’s degree in criminal justice at Brevard Community College and he also was a coach in the Police Athletic League.
“It’s so important for us to honor Joseph Pellicano for the sacrifice that he gave to our agency (and) our community and being able to bring Marion, his widow here with family members, the family members that are part of our city and county leadership, it’s great to be able to honor him for his sacrifice and really carry on the legacy that he left behind,” Mr. Gillespie said.
Among those who spoke just prior to the ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony was Mr. Gillespie along with Melbourne City Council members and Mr. Alfrey.
“We’ve been working on this project for over five years,” said Mr. Alfrey, a former City Councilman. “I remember back when I first got on Council, this was something that many people in the administration didn’t believe that this day would ever happen and I firmly believe that our residents love law enforcement and they support our public safety here.”
In all, the contract awarded to construct the facility is $32,214,518.
For more information about the Melbourne Police Department, visit www.melbourneflorida.org/departments/police-department.