Public safety center named in honor of fallen officer

Apr. 23, 2013 @ 06:03 PM

Dozens gathered Tuesday for the dedication of and opening ceremony for the Rick Rhyne Public Safety Center, named after a Moore County Sheriff's deputy who was killed in the line of duty in 2011.

This new building, located at 302 S. McNeill St., provides an exceptional working environment for the people who constantly put their lives on the line for the safety of Moore's residents, said Moore County Commissioner Chairman Nick Picerno. The 147,000-square-foot facility will house the sheriff's office, 911 call center, emergency operations, the magistrate's office and a 192-bed jail.

"Moore County citizens are blessed to have individuals, like Deputy Ricky Rhyne, who put their own safety at risk to ensure the values that Americans covet — like freedom, justice and liberty — are enforced for us all," he said.

The new building and the additional space were a top priority for the sheriff's office and desperately needed by the department, said Moore County Sheriff Lane Carter. The building was aptly named for a deputy who served the county with complete devotion, he said.

Rhyne was known for loving his job, Carter said, but it paled in comparison to the love for his wife, Wanda, and his family.

"Wanda, he spoke of you often," Carter said, pointing to the family, "and those two grandbabies right there."

Wanda Rhyne spoke during the dedication and said she was proud of her family and her late husband, who was devoted to serving others. Rick was never interested in working behind a desk, she said, opting instead to work with people.

"Rick was never scared to arrest someone," she said, "but he always wanted to help first."

He was dubbed the Andy Griffith of Moore County, Wanda said, and he would have been humbled by Moore County's display of appreciation.

Tuesday should be considered a great day for the family to remember Rhyne's sacrifice and as a step forward for law enforcement in Moore County, according to Commissioner Larry Caddell.     

Some people had thought the new building was unnecessary or over-funded, he said, but the commissioners showed courage in constructing the new facility to protect Moore County's residents.

"The first day we took office, we swore to protect the citizens of this county," he said. "Our service starts with that 911 call and goes to when the officers reach your home."

Following the ceremony, tours were available of some portions of the building, and Moore County Manager Wayne Vest said he expects the project to come in under the $32 million budget after many years of planning and construction.

Rhyne, 58, a retired police chief in Moore County's Firefox Village, was responding to a trespassing report in December 2011. Rhyne found two brothers inside the home, including Martin Abel Poynter, who was wanted on an outstanding warrant for failure to pay child support. Poynter shot the deputy and then himself as Rhyne tried to make the arrest, according to reports from the Moore County Sheriff's Office.