A historic moment was marked on Saturday with the opening of the new $15 million home of the Waxahachie Police Department. Years of planning and months of construction turned an idea into reality.

Police Chief Wade Goolsby told the audience the department wanted to honor its past while planning for the future with the design of the building.

“On the exterior, we told the architect that we wanted it to be new, but we wanted to have some characteristics of the old architecture of Waxahachie. It is a beautiful building that captures some of the elements of the past in it,” Goolsby said. “We also wanted to capture our past and today is the debut of our department flag.”

Goolsby stated the flag features the department’s insignia, a blue background, and three stars. The blue background stands for the valor officers show every day, while the three stars represent the department’s three fallen officers — Lt. Jeffery Lee Springer, officer Josh Williams, and city marshal John Spalding.

“We will never forget them and those stars represent them. They were the first ones to move in,” Goolsby said. “Their pictures are in the lobby. They were the first things that were brought into this building because we don’t want to forget the sacrifice they made.”

Deanna Williams, Josh’s wife, said she was honored by the tribute.

“This is the first time I had heard it and it teared me up. I am very thankful and blessed to have Waxahachie PD in our lives. They continue to be a support system for myself and our family,” Deanna said. “It feels good that they are not forgotten every day when they come in and see those stars. I pray for those families that continue to wear the badge and do a great job.”

Jackie Springer, Jeffery’s wife, stated it means a lot he is not forgotten.

“It means a lot that they remember them,” Jackie said. “I am never going to forget him, and I am glad they won’t.”

Jackie added Jeffery loved police work and served the department for almost 18 years of his nearly 24 years in law enforcement.

The new station is about 35,000 square feet and should allow the department to grow for the next 20 years. Some of the features of the building include a briefing room, report-writing area for officers, a gym, locker room, a community room, and a crime scene processing area. There is also a designated area for the Criminal Investigation Division and designated offices for command staff.

Brinkley Sargent Wiginton Architects oversaw the architectural design and engineering on the building. Byrne oversaw the construction.

Michael Scott, city manager, reminded the crowd Saturday morning that the building does not make the department — the people do.

“As much as the council and the citizens of Waxahachie give us the tools to be successful, it is the people and the professionals that put a badge on each and every day that make the department what it is. I want to be mindful of that,” Scott said. “All the way down from the chiefs to the lieutenants, sergeants, detectives, patrol officers and support personnel, we are thankful for what you do.”

Mayor Kevin Strength shared Scott’s thoughts about the significance of the day, which was eight and a half years in the making.

“I am really excited about this day and what it represents. To see it on the ground, it is a really big deal,” Strength said. “This is a far cry from what they came from. You deserve it, and I appreciate all of the time that you waited and your trust in us.”

For those in the community who would like to see the new station, it is located at 630 Farley Street in Waxahachie. The Daily Light also received a behind-the-scenes look and that video produced by Ashley Ford can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/2LrFpAm.