The two former troopers, who were among the posts first nine employees when it opened in January 1966, went on their first patrol together.
We came in on a Friday afternoon, Payne said. That morning there was a heavy, heavy snow. We were going straight from one wreck to the next.
While he liked the city and people, Romes curvy, hilly roads were too much for Payne, who was used to the straight roads in South Georgia. He stayed only six months. Stamey, who still lives in Lindale, enjoyed a 12-year career at the post, rising to the position of assistant post commander.
Old-timers reminisced at the Georgia State Patrol posts 40-year reunion on Monday, which was attended by a number of former and current employees who passed through the posts doors during the past four decades.
The surviving six of the posts original nine employees, including two license examiners, made it to the reunion lunch. Things have grown since the posts beginnings.
It now has 14 employees, including 10 troopers, three communication officers and a secretary. License examiners are now part of a separate division.
The original employees posed for a photo that mirrored one taken for the paper on the day the post opened. Coincidentally, Mondays reunion was a rainy one just like the dreary weather in the photo of that opening day.
While the weather may look the same, plenty of things are different since his days at the post, Stamey said. He recalled working closely with then-governor Jimmy Carter. Speeders and DUIs made up the majority of their concerns during his time.
We didnt have all this drug business, he said. We would strictly work traffic.
Charles Sizemore was one of the posts first two license examiners. His legacy continues at the post where his son, Charles Sizemore Jr., now works as assistant commander.
While people may complain about long waits to get their license now, the elder Sizemore remembered one July day when things were much worse. On that first day of issuing drivers licenses with a photo, the line stretched around the block by the time his new co-worker showed up for work.
Everyone and their brother wanted their picture on their drivers license, he said. ... He came in that afternoon and said, Oh my gosh. What have I gotten myself into? And I said, A mess.