GSP to open new facility today
by Jessica Loeding
Jun 22, 2011 | 4696 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joseph Swords, left, a Georgia State Patrol communications officer, and Romyr Delrosario, GSP network engineer, install the computers that are used for dispatching troopers.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Amid the bustle of workers installing computer equipment Tuesday morning at the Georgia State Patrol's new Post 3, Gayla Talley-Riddle answers a ringing cellphone.

"Where is the AT&T guy?" she asks. "We don't have phones at the old post. Can we get a phone in here?"

Talley-Riddle, chief of communications, said the communications center was operating two systems Tuesday, with the goal of having all radio operations functioning from the new location by day's end.

No phone service was just one of the kinks in the Post 3 move from the former location on Joe Frank Harris Parkway to State Route 20 Spur. Opening to the public today, the post houses radio operators for Troop A, which covers 14 counties in northern Georgia, along with the roughly 20 troopers for Post 3 and additional staff.

At the Joe Frank Harris Parkway building, which also houses the Georgia Department of Drivers Services, troopers, radio operators and staff were cramped and faced wiring and plumbing problems.

Talley-Riddle said Tuesday communications personnel were loving the "massive" new space. The radio room houses two dispatch desks, two offices for shift supervisors and a kitchen. Two flat-screen TVs are mounted on the wall opposite dispatchers.

The communications chief explains one is tuned to The Weather Channel at all times, with the other rotating between local news stations and CNN or Fox News.

Built with 2008 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds, the roughly $3 million project at the intersection of SR 20 Spur and Smiley Ingram Road includes office space for secretaries, the post commander and several offices for additional commanders. A long hallway running the length of the building features a media room for housing video footage, evidence lockers, office space, a lounge, the troopers' office, an exercise room and the locker room.

The building's left wing serves as a hotel of sorts. Fourteen bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, house troopers from outside the area and those visiting the post. Those staying at the post are required to keep the rooms clean, take out the trash and make the bed, according to Cpl. Andrew Gideon.

Gideon, a 15-year veteran with the GSP, explains that often troopers work shifts that do not allow time to travel to and from their place of residence.

"You might work a shift today until 10 or 11 [p.m.] and then have to be back in the morning," Gideon said, adding that troopers work eight-hour rotations and must take at least six hours off between shifts.

Situated on about 8 acres, the rear of the building is home to covered parking for the GSP cruisers, a storage building and a garage for storing extra tires, automotive equipment and tools.

Although the GSP will inhabit the structure, Gideon said Bartow County owns the building and land. In addition to the Georgia State Patrol, the county also provides facilities for local offices of state agencies, including the DDS and the county extension office.

As the tour of Post 3 comes to a close, Talley-Riddle continues to man her cell. "I have a 10-50 [accident] in Dade County," she says into the phone.

Gideon said opening "depends on if they get us set up and working properly," but once radio operations are functioning, the move can be completed.

"We still got some bugs we are working out," he said.

Post 3 opens today at 130 State Route 20 Spur in Cartersville. Hours of operation will remain the same: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed from noon to 12:30 p.m. and on holidays.

The DDS will remain at 1300 Joe Frank Harris Parkway, Cartersville.