New Waveland Police Station Officially Opens
The new Waveland Police Station is officially open. Officers say it’s been a long time coming after their previous station was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Waveland police officers remember that day very vividly. News 25’s Gina Tomlinson sat down with officers who were there 11 years ago when the hurricane hit and shares the details.
Police Chief David Allen remembers the day Hurricane Katrina hit well, as he and others were caught in the storm, clinging to a tree for dear life. “We’re being splashed in the face with fuel from all the vehicles. Your eyes were stinging, there was debris. There were ants and bugs biting you. We hung for a couple hours in the tree.”
Chief Allen and all the other police officers survived the storm. Eleven years later, another memorable day, and he and others with the department gathered for the grand opening of the city’s new police station, a much different scene than that fateful day in 2005 as the Category 3 hurricane engulfed the police station. “The water was coming in fast. Within five to ten minutes, the building had it all the way up to the ceiling,” said Lieutenant Malcolm Cowand.
They had weathered storms and hurricanes before Katrina, so they though they’d be safe. As water rushed into the building, they realized there was no turning back. “The back door wouldn’t open. We found out later that a patrol vehicle floated against the back door and was blocking against the door,” said Allen.
The group of officers managed to break through the station’s door, pulling everyone to the top of the building where they were eventually rescued by the assistant chief of Bay St. Louis police who commandeered a school bus and was picking up survivors along Highway 90.
There’s not much left where the old police station once stood. Chief Allen tells News 25 that CNN reported the officers were dead. For eight entire days, his wife thought she’d lost him for good. “Still wearing the same clothes, I’ve got little wounds on me, unshaved and unbathed and I threw my arms around her and we’re both laughing and we’re both crying. I proposed on the spot.”
She said yes and their bond is stronger than ever, as are the walls of the police department’s new building.