Post 51 Commander Sgt. James Warren and Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Col. Mark McDonough (center) joined Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash and other officials Friday in cutting the ribbon on the Georgia State Patrol’s new post on Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth. (Photo: Tyler Estep)
DULUTH — Sgt. James Warren, commander of the new Post 51, finally gets to work from home. In a way, at least.
“I’m a Gwinnett County citizen, so it means me getting to patrol my own territory for once,” he said Friday, “and to serve not only the citizens of the state but of Gwinnett County.”
Warren joined state and county officials Friday for the official ribbon cutting at the Gwinnett home of the Georgia State Patrol. Taking residence on Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth — not far from Interstate 85 in the original Edwin Watts Golf store, two doors down from the Georgia Diner — the new post will be home to about three dozen troopers.
GSP now has a home in Gwinnett for the first time since the late ’90s.
“There was unanimous support from the board of commissioners as we worked through this process, finding the right location and the lease and the renovation of the building,” BOC Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said.
The idea for the local post was inspired by the Georgia Department of Transportation, which saw an increased presence on one of busiest parts of I-85 as a way to help the flow of traffic.
“That’s what this is all about,” Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Col. Mark McDonough said. “A very innovative idea under traffic incident management, to get to the wreck as quickly as possible, work with the local partners and get it out of the way — efficiently while still doing the job — and keeping traffic moving.”
Warren said Post 51’s chief duties will be patrolling the I-85 corridor from the DeKalb-Gwinnett County line to the Gwinnett-Barrow County line, “assisting the county and the cities any way that we can.”
The vast majority of the 32 or so everyday troopers under Warren’s charge are fresh from school, he said, with only a handful having several years of experience. He called that a good thing, and an opportunity to “train up a young group of guys to make a difference” in Gwinnett.
“Our primary function is just simply Gwinnett County,” Warren said. “We don’t leave the county.”
Local businessman Roger Burgess, founder and CEO of ProCare Rx, was named an honorary trooper during Friday’s ceremony. He loaned the state patrol office space while its new digs were being readied.