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Ted Siefer, The Union Leader (Manchester, NH)
MANCHESTER - The Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted on Tuesday to name city's new police station in honor of slain officer Michael Briggs.
The decision was not an easy one for several aldermen, however, because it means parting ways with the name of the current station, the Ralph Miller Public Safety Center.
That station, built in 1978, was named in honor of Officer Ralph Miller, who was killed in 1976.
Briggs was killed in 2006. Both officers were shot to death while on duty.
Alderman Ron Ludwig was one of several aldermen who recalled personal memories of Miller.
"I was a friend of Ralph Miller. I was in the BoyScouts with him," he said. "It's just difficult, but I agree, other people need be recognized."
Police Chief David Mara proposed renaming the new police headquarters, set to open in early January in the new municipal complex, after Briggs.
He said that naming the center after Briggs doesn't mean that Miller will be forgotten. "When you walk into the lobby, all the officers killed in the line of duty are still going to honored there," Mara said.
He added that the Miller family is "still part our family," but that the original station has been named after Miller since 1976. "His kids got to see building named after him. The Briggs family is in that same situation. It's not time to stop honoring Ralph Miller. I just want see the city bestow that honor on Michael Briggs' family," he said.
Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur proposed a hyphenated name for the new building: The Miller-Briggs police station.
"I understand that the people on the force now are of the Briggs generation, but there are many people on this board who are of the Miller generation," he said.
The board ultimately voted to support Mara's proposal to name the new building after Briggs. The family is expected to attend the opening of the station next month.