Many residents have voiced their concern of closing the building before the new one is built, but according to Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Assistant Commissioner Lori Bullard of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, who visited Dyer County in October, the closure is necessary because the department will be migrating to a new system beginning Jan. 1, 2013. The new system requires new equipment, which is not compatible with the old facilities on James H. Rice Road and would not be able to accommodate the size of the equipment.
According to Sgt. Robert Moore of the THP, the building on James H. Rice Road opened in 1980 due in large part to the dedication of five troopers, who rallied the community behind them to build the facility. The troopers included: Elmer Hatley, Jerry Baker, Jerry Strain, Mike Boals and Leon Goff. The troopers were working out of the American Legion office on St. John Avenue and realized there was a need for a facility to call their own.
Boals, who is currently a chief deputy for the Dyer County Sheriff's Office recalled on Thursday how the big five factories at the time all contributed $5,000 apiece and the rest was raised from donations from the community. Dyer County also stepped in and granted the troopers a 99-year lease for the site to build the complex.
"We did most of the construction work ourselves," said Boals.
The facility included a firing range for troopers when it first opened and a driving course. According to Moore, the facility's location was ideal to support the firing range because there was nothing in the vicinity. The building was constructed before the fair was moved to its current location and before the ball fields were built on Community Park Road. However, once the area became more populated the firing range was removed.
Thursday was an opportunity for Boals and a few other individuals to recall the beginnings of the building and their appreciation of the community coming together when they needed their support.