That’s the word used Tuesday to describe the demolition of the former Lawton Police Department headquarters.
Lawton Police Training Director Lt. Charles Whittington stood in the parking along the south wall of the headquarters, 10 SW 4th, taking photos of the demolition. He’s documenting the final days of the station that’s been a part of downtown Lawton since the mid-’60s.
“It’s pretty bittersweet,” he said. “I’m almost at my 20 years, my brothers and I, my dad, we all served there for a long time.”
As a K&M Wrecking excavator operator continued moving into the south wall, the last standing around noon Tuesday, dust flew and debris spilled to the ground. Concrete pillars with twisted steel rebar fingers twisted skyward where they’d been ripped from the long-standing structure. The south entry door leaned outward, affixed only to one section of frame. Nearby was a reminder that this parking lot was for police personnel only.
It was the end of an era.
The police station was constructed in 1964. The building was part of Lawton’s downtown urban renewal efforts for the time. In one window of history, the building contained the city police station, municipal court, emergency communications center and city jail.
When it closed in 2021, the building was home to the Lawton Police Department, with the city jail occupying the top floor.
Now, the Lawton Public Safety Building, 100 S. Railroad, serves as police headquarters as well as home to the municipal court and the city jail. Lawton Fire Station No. 1 also calls the location home.
Whittington said he and many other officers served a lot of years within its confines; 17 years of his career were spent walking its halls and leaving for patrols from its parking lot.
Monday night, following his daughter’s ball game, Whittington said he parked across the street and looked at what it has become. He collected bricks to have inscribed for presentation to some of the old timers on the force. Some of the jail doors are being preserved for a future display at the Public Safety Building.
Whittington said the station’s time has come. Speaking of the deterioration of the building, he noted that there were reports there was asbestos in the building and then reports there wasn’t. Officers still aren’t sure what that means.
“We all spent a lot of time in there,” he said before recognizing the years the reporter spent going through police reports within its confines. “You did, too.”
Everything has its prime and then it passes, even the former Lawton Police Department headquarters.