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The Georgia House of Representatives spokesman said Wednesday he would seek $ 75 million in the state budget to give a $ 1,000 bonus to each police officer and deputy sheriff, increase prosecutor and public attorney salaries, and increase the Georgia’s capacity Strengthen Bureau of Investigation.
New funding will also be allocated for the GBI to investigate suspected electoral fraud, Republican David Ralston said, adding that a related bill during the 2022 legislature would allow the agency to conduct such investigations without the request of any other state or state initiate local authority. Part of the new funds will also be used to strengthen mental health services.
“Today I announce a significant investment in people and resources to keep our roads safe and to make our state a great place to live, work and raise a family,” Ralston said in a statement.
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Ralston and other state Republicans have made violent crime a priority in Democratic-controlled Atlanta in recent months. In March, Ralston said he would set up a committee to see if the state should intervene in policing in the city.
At a legislative hearing on crime in Atlanta this week, Republican Governor Brian Kemp said he would come up with anti-crime proposals that lawmakers should consider this fall when they return to a special session to redefine electoral districts.
The Atlanta Police Department recorded 154 homicides in 2020, up from an average of 90 per year over the past decade, and that pace has continued into the first half of 2021, not as sharp as homicides.
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A third of the $ 75 million proposed by Ralston would be used for officers and deputies bonuses. Of the remaining funds, more than $ 20 million would go to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and $ 10 million to raise wages for prosecutors and public defenders. Another $ 7 million is earmarked for additional crisis beds in the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability, Ralston said.
Most of the additional money for the GBI would be used to hire people for death investigations, forensic services and several specialized task forces. The $ 75 million includes $ 3 million that Ralston previously announced to tackle crime in Atlanta.