Five towns and a county made the cut to possibly become the home of a $23 million law enforcement training center and the 40 jobs it brings.
The Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training considered bids from 16 submissions for the training center. The winners - Ada, Canadian County, Hinton, McAlester, Wewoka and Alva - were chosen unanimously.
Board members will schedule site visits before awarding the bid March 23.
Council members deliberated in open session to help quell accusations of back-room politics at the agency, board member David Been said.
Critics, including officials from finalist McAlester, accused the board of playing politics when it threw out the original 21 bids submitted last fall. Agency representatives said the original bid specifications were too broad and needed to be clarified.
Enid, Kiowa County and Lawton were included in the second round of bids, but none of them made the final cut. Nine bidders from the first round of rejected bids declined to resubmit offers.
Site quality and incentives played a major role in the council's decisions.
Ada's proximity to East Central University and the school's ability to offer Internet-based college courses helped its cause, as did an offer of 320 acres of free land. …