by Dave Williams |Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp is committing up to $2 million from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to the state Department of Public Safety’s Crime Suppression Unit.
Kemp’s announcement Wednesday is the latest initiative he and other Georgia Republican leaders have taken this spring and summer aimed at rising crime across the state but particularly in Atlanta.
“In April of this year, I asked Colonel Chris Wright and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to develop and execute a plan to tackle crime and reckless street racing across the metro-Atlanta region,” Kemp said.
“Colonel Wright made a request of additional funds – up to $2 million – for the department to bring additional personnel onto the Crime Suppression Unit in order to strengthen their ongoing efforts. I have agreed to Colonel Wright’s request.”
In May, the governor committed $5 million from the emergency fund to fighting crime.
The $2 million he’s freeing up now is not part of that $5 million package, which was allocated for the fiscal year that ended June 30, Kemp spokesman Cody Hall said. However, not all of the earlier money had been spent when fiscal 2021 ended, Hall said.
Last week, Kemp told a legislative committee holding hearings on the crime wave he plans to include crime on the General Assembly’s to-do list during the special session he will call this fall to draw new congressional and legislative district maps.
During the same hearing, House Speaker David Ralston asked lawmakers to earmark $75 million to boost state law enforcement and mental health services when the legislature takes up the fiscal 2022 mid-year budget and fiscal 2023 budget this winter.
Also last week, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who presides over the Georgia Senate, proposed a $250 million state income tax credit to raise money for fighting crime.
Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, endorsed the governor’s latest funding proposal on Wednesday.
“This additional funding is necessary to keep the streets of Atlanta safe and protect residents and visitors alike,” the speaker said. “Our state law enforcement personnel are working around the clock to bring criminals to justice, and I greatly appreciate their work on behalf of all Georgians.”