NICEVILLE, Fla. (WKRG) — Dozens of county leaders packed the Emergency Operations Center Thursday for a dedication ceremony.

The Sheriff Larry Gilbert Emergency Operations Center sits on the Northwest Florida State College campus.

Sheriff Larry Gilbert was named OCSO Sheriff in 1980 and served for 16 years. Sheriff Gilbert is credited for leading numerous emergency declarations in Northwest Florida following Hurricane Andrew, establishing a joint operations center for Hurricane Opal in 1995.

More about Sheriff Larry Gilbert:

Sheriff Larry Gilbert was elected Sheriff of Okaloosa County in 1980 and would continue to serve for sixteen years in the post, bringing the agency from a small organization to a medium-sized agency that embraced new technologies, investigative techniques and law enforcement operations. Operations included new units such as beach patrols, K-9 units, aviation, joint narcotics task forces, school resource officers in county-wide high schools, innovative jail facilities, a county work farm and state of the art computer-aided dispatch (CAD).

Sheriff Gilbert led efforts in managing county-wide emergencies during his term of office, including hurricanes, floods, forest fires, aircraft crashes, chemical/toxic spills, and established the first post-Hurricane Andrew consolidated on-site ESF-16 joint operations center in Florida during Hurricane Opal in 1995, providing a central law enforcement/public safety command and control center for federal, state, county, and city leaders to manage emergency operations in Okaloosa County. Sheriff Gilbert created the first joint dispatch center in the Shalimar Courthouse Annex, merging all Sheriff’s dispatch centers, Okaloosa EMS, civil defense/emergency management function, and implementing a state-of-the-art computer-aided dispatch and records management system, and began the testing of an experimental vehicle tracking system built by Eglin AFB engineers before AVL technology was on the market.

Okaloosa County

Learn even more about Sheriff Gilbert and the EOC dedication here.