Donalsonville-- Post 14 of the Georgia State Patrol has been in Donalsonville for the last 70 years. "We've had a good working relationship with the state patrol, all the law enforcement agencies here have," says Seminole County Sheriff's Deputy Kevin Long.
So when county officials heard it was moving, they were shocked. "We have not officially been informed, almost in anyway informed at all about the process. We actually heard it on the street that they were going to move," says Seminole County Manager Marty Shingler.
Officials say the letter from Colonel Bill Hitchens less than 2 weeks ago was their first official notification. Gordy Wright, deputy director of public information for the state patrol says, "As far as who said what and when and where, the post down there did inform some of the local officials that there was a possibility that Colquitt offered to construct a control post."
Troopers already broke ground on the future site of their new post GSP says the city of Colquitt offered to build them. "We were approached that wanting to build a new patrol post with new modern facilities and that's the way it was initiated," says Wright.
"It appears to us to be a real modern facility, it was upgraded in the last 3 or 4 years," Shingler says. Seminole County officials admit they probably could not have afforded to build a brand new post, but don't like the way it was handled. "It was not handled in any way shape or form in the way you would think something of this magnitude would be handled, if we'd received a letter, and an opportunity to compete," Shingler says.
GSP says operation of post 14 may be in Colquitt now, but it will continue to serve the same region it always has. "We will continue to have troopers in Seminole county, we'll continue to work traffic crashes as needed, and any other assistance or resources the state patrol has we'll be available to Seminole county," says Wright.
Seminole County officials say they're working on plans to take over the GSP building after operations have moved.
In the letter to the Seminole County Commission, Colonel Bill Hitchens said as a result of the controversy the State Patrol will implement new procedures regarding any future relocation of state patrol posts.