Staff Reporter Mobile Register

State Rep. Jack Spencer Collier, R-Irvington, is leaving his post as an Alabama State Trooper to take a job as an investigator with a prominent Mobile trial law firm, he said Wednesday.

Collier, who serves as the local state trooper spokesman, said he accepted a job with Cunningham, Bounds, Yance, Crowder & Brown LLC in October and will start with the firm in the new year.

"In my heart, I'll always consider myself a trooper," Collier said. "I've got to do what's best for myself and my family, and this is probably best for my family."

A nine-year veteran of the troopers, Collier said his last day will be Dec. 22.

In 2002, Collier was elected as a state representative from House District 105 and he said he plans to run again in 2006. The primary is scheduled for June and so far Collier is unopposed, he said.

Collier, 32, said he told his fellow troopers that he may see them more than he does now since he'll be working on some traffic investigations for Cunningham Bounds.

Collier, a Republican, said he doesn't anticipate any problems working for a plaintiffs' firm that typically supports Democrats.

"I'm always going to vote for what's in the best interest of south Mobile (County)," he said. Collier said his discussed his position with the firm and they were understanding.

"They are professional," Collier said. "This is a very elite law firm."

Partners of Cunningham Bounds said that the firm likes Collier's work ethic and personality.

"Jack has always impressed us ever since we first made his acquaintance in the various cases we handled in which the state troopers were involved," said Joseph "Buddy" Brown Jr., a partner in the large law firm.

"He is an extremely bright individual," Brown said. "He has impeccable character."

Asked how Collier will balance his role as a legislator and investigator, Brown said, "He'll have to stay up late."

As far as Collier's Republican status, "I don't anticipate that will pose any obstacles. ... Jack is an extremely honest individual," Brown said.

The firm has two other investigators, veterans of the Mobile Police Department, Ron Wilhelm and Jeff Stokes, a former undercover narcotics detective.

Collier said that with a salaried job in the private sector, he will have an easier time serving as a legislator.

"Part of the problem that I have faced is maintaining a separate work schedule," Collier said.

During weeks when the Legislature was in session, Collier said, he would spend time in Montgomery as a House member, then fit in 40 hours working as a trooper in Mobile. There was "no down time," he said.

Collier said he had always wanted to be in law enforcement and now he'll be doing the same type of work.

He said he had to look at the long term and how this will be financially better for his family.

Collier, who is married with three boys, lost his home in Hurricane Katrina and said he had just found a contractor to rebuild his house. In the meantime, Collier said his family has been living in a mobile home and plans to spend the Christmas holiday with family in the mountains of Tennessee.

Collier is a graduate of Alba High School and Troy State University.