County and state officials broke ground at Interstate 85 and Lafayette Parkway on Tuesday for a planned new Georgia State Patrol post.
“This has been a work of love for a long, long time,” said County Commission Chairman Ricky Wolfe.
Wolfe said that the county was thankful for the Georgia Department of Transportation for giving the county the property and the Georgia Department of Corrections, which will be responsible for construction. Troup County engineers did site prep work.
Sheriff Donny Turner, whom was honored by Wolfe for his more than 20 years as sheriff, said he had the unique honor of spending the last day at the former state patrol post and locking it up before transferring over and opening up the current post on Hamilton Road. He said local law enforcement and state patrol have always had a close relationship and the drug funds seized by GSP benefit local efforts.
“I’m extremely proud of this, one of the main reasons why, because this patrol post is not going to cost the taxpayers of Troup County anything,” Turner said. “See, the Georgia State Patrol has been so good to Troup County and the Troup County commission and Troup County citizens. They’ve been very active in the drug community, stopping them from coming in our community, stop them coming into our state. They’ve seized a lot of money from our drug dealers.”
Turner said GSP has brought in more than $4 million to Troup County over the last four years. Those funds help with law enforcement-related expenses.
“Every one of the Troup County citizens should appreciate what they’ve done for us,” Turner said.
Those funds are going toward building the patrol post, which he said will be at no expense to Troup County tax payers. He thanked GSP Col. Mark McDonough, who is chief executive of the state Department of Public Safety, for the work the state patrol has done.
“We’re taking that money there and putting it here, part of that money, to build this patrol post,” Turner said. “So when we get through with this, it should be at no expense to the Troup County citizens, simply because of the work your men have done, colonel, and we appreciate that.”
The old post may be used as a women’s work release or divergent system building, Turner said.
McDonough praised the working relationship state patrol had with Turner and local authorities.
“This doesn’t happen without one thing, and that’s relationships,” he said. “If you understand the motto of the state patrol, we are not a state police organization. We are here solely to support local law enforcement. That’s our job.”
Patrol posts are built to support local law enforcement and the new patrol location will help provide better access for troopers to get to all parts of Troup County and Harris County, which the local post also covers. He echoed Turner’s comments that the post and support of state patrol comes at no local cost to taxpayers, operating off of seized drug funds.
Sgt. Maurice Raines, post commander, said that fellow trooper Sgt. Mark Mitchell “kept the fire going” for a new post building.
“Mark and I are very, very excited about this day,” he said. “… This is an honor. This is something that God ordained. No one of us knew when it would happen or if it would happen, but it did happen. But to know that our community came together to say that ‘We love the Georgia State Patrol enough to build them a facility,’ means that we’ve gotta pay you back with true service, and we’re going to do that.”
Mitchell, who said he started his career in 1986 at the Troup County Sheriff’s Department “at the very bottom of the totem pole,” had lots of help from people throughout his career. He said Turner was very supportive of him and thanked him for this years of service.
“There’s been a lot of people throughout my career who have taught me how to do my job and do it well, and for that, I am fortunate,” he said. “… I’ve enjoyed my career with the state patrol.”
He said local and state officials “were definitely trying hard to find a place to put the post to make it a good location to be accessible to both Harris County and Troup County.”
The building was designed by Atlanta-based 2WR of Georgia, Inc.