Petition to keep Trooper Academy

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 18, 2002

The economy can sour in a matter of days — just look at the financial markets after Sept. 11. A major corporation can fall apart in a matter of hours — just look at Enron.

With most economic problems, there is little a community can do to help solve the problem. American Candy’s turmoil falls in the same category.

The latest negative economic news to hit Selma is a bit different. Word that members of the Department of Public Safety want to move the Alabama State Trooper Academy from Craig Field in Selma to Ft. McClellan in Anniston has forced residents of Dallas County to wonder if the sky might fall in tomorrow.

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When people talk about the economy, the jobs and pay of a company become the bottom line. If Selma’s economy sours, it’s because businesses leave this area. The lack of paying jobs eventually forces the economy into a decline.

The State Trooper Academy does provide jobs in Selma. The use of Craig Field buildings for that academy brings a sense of purpose to the old Air Force base.

Just as with any economic struggle that hits Dallas County, there’s little the citizens of this area can do to help keep the academy in Selma. If every person in Selma wrote a letter to the academy and asked it to stay, there’s very little those letters would accomplish.

That doesn’t mean the citizens of Dallas County can’t get involved. In fact, there is an enormous opportunity to help keep the State Trooper Academy here.

The final decision of whether the academy moves to Anniston or stays in Selma falls with Gov. Don Siegelman and his administration.

State Sen. Hank Sanders, one of the most powerful politicians in the state, often helps Siegelman make decisions about what’s best for this area. The combination of those two forces should play in Selma’s best interest.

Most of the citizens in Selma don’t understand everything that goes on at Craig Field. Most don’t know how important having the academy in our town is.

Rest assured that jobs are created there, and know that people travel through our county because of that academy.

For once, we do have the opportunity to sway an opinion and help an economic contributor. Contact Sanders or Siegelman. Let them know how important it is that we keep the State Trooper Academy in Selma.