Posted November 11, 2002 | comments Leave a comment

Winchester dedicates city’s new public safety building

By Tiffany Schwab - Daily Staff Writer

It is made of bricks, steel, glass and mortar, but Winchester’s new public safety building beats with the heart of a community and the living memory of the brave officer who lost his life protecting it.

From the opening invocation by police chaplain William Barton to the closing remarks by Sen. H. Russell Potts, those words echoed throughout the crowd on an overcast, chilly Saturday morning at the dedication of the new Timbrook Public Safety Center.

The 32,700-square-foot building at 231 E. Piccadilly St. is dedicated to Ricky L. Timbrook, a Winchester police sergeant who was shot dead on Oct. 30 1999, while chasing a man he believed was wanted on a probation violation.

Timbrook was 32 years old and an eight-year veteran of the department when he was killed in the line of duty. The alley where the shooting took place is less than a block away from where the new public safety building stands and a visible reminder of Timbrook’s dedication to the community.

Barton prayed that the building would become more than just components of construction.

“Sgt. Timbrook was a beautiful person who laid down a beautiful life to make Winchester a beautiful place to live,” Barton said. “May this public safety building be a symbol of the strength of our community.”

Winchester Mayor Larry Omps introduced the new corner landmark as “your building” to the residents, city officials, firefighters, police officers and rescue workers who attended the dedication.

The new building houses not only administrative officers for police, fire and rescue, but also a 100-seat community meeting room, “making this truly a part of the community,” he said.

The public safety center and soon-to-be park across the street mean a lot for the north end, Vice Mayor Elizabeth Minor said. Together they form an entryway the city can be proud of and a foothold in the efforts to spur redevelopment of the area.

“I feel there’s no one more deserving of this,” she said of the public safety workers.

The mayor and police chief presented Timbrook’s mother, father and widow with framed copies of a resolution the City Council passed, dedicating the building to the slain officer’s memory.

They also received a print of the building.

The Rev. Kevin Wilson presented the city with a plaque in memory of Timbrook.

“He was a vital person in the life of the North End Citizens’ area,” Wilson said.

The plaque recognizes Timbrook’s service, commitment and dedication to the community.

Potts said that Timbrook, “... gave the last full measure of devotion.”

The new center beats with the living memory of his courage and sense of community and duty, Potts said.

Generations of Winchester residents passing by the building will ask, “Who was Ricky Timbrook,” Potts said.

“Ricky Timbrook was a man of extreme courage and character. He was the heartbeat and soul of this community,” Potts said.

Potts asked that when passing a public safety officer, people remember the sacrifices the brave men and women make for them on a daily basis.

To close the dedication, about a dozen officials stood together to snip a red ribbon stretched across the front steps. Swirls of ribbon fluttered to the ground as the council president exclaimed, “Enjoy your building.”

The sun broke through the clouds as tours of the clean and sleek building began.

Richard Timbrook, the officer’s father, said the event was special for his family.

“It really means a lot,” he said. “The fact that the city thought enough about him to do this is an honor.”

Then he added, “It’s a sad honor.”

Timbrook, who spoke to a reporter after the event on behalf of his wife, Kitty, and Ricky’s widow, Kelly, said his son never said a bad thing about anyone the whole time he was a police officer.

“Rick was just a very unusual person. He liked everybody. He treated everybody the same,” his father said.

“He was by far my best friend.”

His son’s murder is as real to him as if it had happened yesterday, he said.

Lt. Rick Bush, a longtime friend of the slain officer, said the dedication to Ricky Timbrook is well deserved.

“He was a model police officer,” Bush said. “He was a friend to everyone.”

The dedication was emotional, he said, adding that he still gets a little choked up thinking about the shooting.

“It’s something you won’t forget,” Bush said. “He paid the ultimate price for his family, his fellow workers and above most, the community he worked in.”

Bush said the new center is “no comparison” to the old facility, which was so cramped for space that four or five lieutenants shared a space smaller than a conference room in the new building.

“We were really strapped for space over there,” he said.

“Over there” is visible from the big arched windows on the fire department’s side of the building, up on the third floor.

Fire Chief Lynn A. Miller said the old and new are as different as night and day.

“It was a very depressing place to work,” Miller said. “It was in ill repair. It didn’t have proper facilities to deal with the public.”

All that has changed now, and the city’s public service workers say thank you.

* Contact Tiffany Schwab at tschwab@nvdaily.com

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