2007-07-18 / Front Page

Nothing settled on GSP Post 14

According to a front page article in the Donalsonville News, the fate of Georgia State Patrol Post 14 is not settled, or is it?

The News article stated that at a "town meeting" with over 100 citizens of the county present, State Commander Col. Bill Hitchens had no instant cures for the lack of accord between the two extreme southwest Georgia counties. The article stated that Col. Hitchens seemed to think that since construction was already underway on Fourth Street in Colquitt for a new building for the post, it would be hard to stop the move now. Sen. John Bullock and Rep. Gerald Greene also attend the meeting. County Commissioner Barbie Womble from Miller County was present at the Seminole County meeting to let it be known that County Commissioner Clyde Jinks was contacted by the GSP about moving the post to Colquitt. There was no attempt on the Miller County Commissioners' part to "hijack" the post. She stated that the counties did not have problems. As we understood it, the post was going to be moved and people from Miller County offered to build what the state wanted.

When Commissioner Jinks was approached with the proposal, he as the funding agent for the Ruth T. Jinks Foundation offered to build the new post in Colquitt with the City of Colquitt being the official donor. GSP Post Commander Buddy Johnson went to the Seminole County commissioners' chairman and advised him of the proposal. He stated that if Seminole could build a post for the GSP, then it would stay in Donalsonville. The chairman asked for two weeks, but said he did not see how they could afford to build the post. The post commander allowed three months. No offer was made; then the project was officially started.

After several meetings and trips to other posts in the state, a design was chosen based on the GSP post in Statesboro. The building after completion will be 9,666 square feet. It will house all Post 14 personnel, an implied consent trooper, a GEMA school safety officer, and Lt. Johnson (Assistant Troop G Commander). The building will also have a huge conference room that will be accessible to the local civic organizations and government entities. This room will also be wired and ready to become a command center in the event of a major disaster (hurricane, tornado, terrorist, fire, etc.) All agencies will have room to gather and go on line with communication. This type command center currently does not exist for Miller and Seminole counties. With the imminent threat of storms and natural disasters, this facility is certainly a proactive step in fighting those situations.

The post will also have a landing pad that can support the Life Flight helicopters and other helicopter traffic.

Post 14 has been located in Donalsonville at the current building since the late 1950s. Several renovations have been done over the years. The wiring dates back in some areas of that post to the 50s. The troopers and department have outgrown that office.

There were plans in place to have a post built in Bainbridge in 2009; however, the proposal in Colquitt was drawn up quicker and suited the overall needs of the GSP better than going to Bainbridge and more centrally located in the command area.

It was not reported what the Seminole County Commissioners have determined to do, if they now have an option. Their chairman was duly notified and did not act. GSP accepted the proposal for the new building, and several hundred thousand dollars have already been expended to complete the new post in Colquitt. If the project continues in Colquitt, the projected construction time is 14 to 16 months.

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