Governor Brian P. Kemp this week attended the 7th meeting of Attorney General Chris Carr’s Georgia Anti-Gang Network.
The network brings together local, state, and federal partners to increase communication and information sharing, creating a more strategic response to gang activity statewide.
“I am extremely proud of the work that the state is doing to support our local and federal partners in fighting back against gang activity,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “The truth is, our fight continues to intensify, and I am doubling-down on our efforts by dedicating every resource available to protect our communities. This afternoon, I spoke with our law enforcement leaders about building on our partnerships and wise investments in public safety over the last three years. I look forward to continuing our work to protect Georgians from gangs and hold criminals accountable.”
One of Governor Kemp’s early priorities in office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) Georgia Gang Task Force has already found much success working with local, state, and federal partners to investigate and dismantle gangs. This past year, the GBI investigated 446 gang-related cases across 100 Georgia counties and charged more than 170 gang members.
“Violent acts committed by criminal street gangs continue to plague Georgia communities,” said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds. “We’re pleased with the progress that the GBI Gang Task Force has made to combat gang activity. As we move forward, it will be imperative that we continue to combine the resources from our local, state, and federal partners to cripple the effects that these violent gangs have on Georgia citizens.”
Since its inception in July of 2018, the Attorney General’s Georgia Anti-Gang Network has served as a conduit to law enforcement efforts, bringing together partners to focus on multi-jurisdictional investigations and prosecutions, improve intelligence-sharing capabilities, stop recruitment, and increase training efforts. To build on this good work, Governor Kemp’s budget and legislative proposals allocate $1.6 million for the Office of the Attorney General to establish a Gang Prosecution Unit. This budgetary item is complemented by the introduction of House Bill 1134 which would provide the Office of the Attorney General with concurrent jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute criminal gang activity statewide.
“Through the Gang Prosecution Unit, we will serve as a force multiplier by reinforcing and strengthening the efforts of those on the ground and in our communities,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “Much like our Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, we will work hand-in-hand with law enforcement and district attorneys to prosecute violent criminals who often times operate across multiple jurisdictions. We are confident that by leveraging our assets, resources and relationships, we will ensure better outcomes that ultimately lead to a safer Georgia.”
Governor Kemp’s budget proposals also include funds for the Attorney General to expand their Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. In addition to the expansion of the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, the First Lady and the GRACE Commission, with Governor Kemp’s full support, will be bringing forward legislation (SB 461) to add human trafficking to the list of offenses that require a superior court judge to grant bail.
Governor Kemp and the First Lady are also championing the following efforts to support law enforcement in carrying out their duties:
- SB 479: Clarifying the wording of the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon statute in wake of Coates v. State to ensure that offenders may be charged and convicted for each firearm found in their possession.
- HB 1188: Clarifying the wording of the child molestation statute after Scott v. State to ensure that offenders may be charged and convicted for each act of child molestation during an encounter with a child.
- HB 1216: Implementing stronger penalties for those fleeing and eluding law enforcement.
These newly-announced efforts will also support the existing work of the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s Multi-Agency Crime Suppression Unit which since April of 2021 has been responsible for the following actions:
- Vehicle Stops – 18,717
- DUIs – 466
- Reckless Driving – 340
- Citations/Arrests – 12,787
- Warnings – 14,703
- Pursuits – 457
- Wanted Persons – 361
- Stolen Weapons – 116
- Recovered Weapons – 151
- Impounded Vehicles – 1,037
- Stolen Vehicles recovered – 262
- Drug Arrests – 181
- Murder Suspects – 23
- Stolen Recovered Vehicle Value: $5,479,000.00
Governor Kemp is also supporting law enforcement in the fight against gangs by adding additional resources to promote recruitment and retention. On top of his one-time, statewide bonus for law enforcement and first responders in late 2021, Governor Kemp’s budget proposals include a $5,000 raise for all state law enforcement. And, to help train qualified, dedicated professionals to enter law enforcement professions, Governor Kemp has asked Commissioner Greg Dozier of the Technical College System of Georgia to add law enforcement and criminal justice degrees to Georgia’s high-demand career initiatives. This aims to provide free tuition to over 1,000 Georgians looking to obtain those degrees at the state’s technical colleges.
Finally, Governor Kemp’s public safety package includes an allocation of $7 million to upgrade the GBI crime lab and provide an additional 32 staff members to address forensic backlogs, so that law enforcement officials and local prosecutors readily have the evidence needed to see justice done quickly and efficiently. This investment follows Governor Kemp’s dedication of $110 million in federal funds to address the judicial system in October of 2021.
CLICK HERE for a list of the law enforcement agencies, bodies, and boards that are represented on the Georgia Anti-Gang Network.