Charleston's new FBI center dedicated to slain agent
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In 1986, Jerry Dove told family members that being an FBI special agent made him the "luckiest man in the world."
Just a few days after saying those words, Dove was killed in a shootout with two bank robbery suspects in Miami, Fla.
On Thursday, FBI officials and staff gathered to dedicate the FBI's new Charleston Resident Agency in Dove's memory. Dove, a former Dunbar resident, went to West Virginia University and Marshall University and worked for the West Virginia State Police before joining the FBI.
A large stone sits outside the $13 million facility at 113 Virginia Street E. to memorialize Dove's sacrifice in the line of duty.
"The sacrifice he made to this country is the ultimate example of fidelity and loyalty," U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Thursday. "His heroism will never be forgotten."
Konrad Motyka, president of the FBI Agents Association, recounted Dove's life and the day of his death.
Dove had always wanted to be an agent and expressed the love of his career days before his death, Motyka said.
On April 11, 1986, Dove and Benjamin T. Grogan, 53, a 25-year veteran of the FBI, were killed in a gun battle with robbery suspects in a suburban Miami neighborhood. The two suspects also were killed, and five other agents were wounded during the 10-minute exchange of gunfire.
Goodwin said the FBI's local office has been housed in at least three locations in Kanawha County over the years. The new 17,500-square-foot facility meets the FBI's goal of having most of its services housed under the same roof, he said.
He commended Special Agent Joe Ciccarelli for his work overseeing the project "night and day."
Ciccarelli said it was an honor to dedicate the building to Dove.
"What it shows is that the FBI will never forget one of their own," he said.
After the ceremony, more than 50 people toured the new building and met with staff members, who moved into the space at the end of April.
FBI victim specialist Tessa Cooper showed off a room made to conduct interviews with child victims. The room has a small desk and toys in front of a double-sided mirror.
"This new room is a benefit because before, we had trouble locating a space to interview children," she said. "What we have now is a much greater resource to work with children, and we now have the ability to record those interviews."
The building also includes a garage to maintain and repair FBI vehicles.
Electronics technician Greg Shafer said he's glad to have the garage under the same roof as the agents and other staff. The garage used to be in Dunbar, he said.
The new space gives more room to review data, said Tammie Blundon, an FBI forensic accountant.
"It's been an absolute blessing. We were so cramped in the space before, and we had old equipment," Blundon said. "Now we have to have the ability to spread everything out and analyze a financial record."
She likes that the building is dedicated to Dove, and said the FBI is a family.
"It's a fraternal order and an incredible bond we have together," she said. "We have each other's back all the time, on and off duty and after death."
Reach Travis Crum at email@example.com or 304-348-5163.