ATLANTA – Republican Gov. Brian Kemp pledged Monday to turn up the heat on criminal gangs and reform the system for granting no-cash bail if he wins a second term next month.
Kemp released a public safety platform that calls for increasing penalties for gang recruitment of minors, implementing a database for gang research and prevention, and requiring judges to consider criminal history when issuing “own recognizance” bonds.
“Since day one of my administration, I have worked hard to deliver on my campaign promises by cracking down on criminal street gangs, standing with our men and women in law enforcement and leading the fight against violent criminals across the state,” Kemp said.
“Although we’ve made significant progress putting dangerous criminals behind bars and making our communities safer, we still have work left to do.”
During his first term, Kemp pushed through $5,000 pay raises for state law enforcement officers and created an Anti-Gang Unit within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams’ platform calls for raising base salaries for state troopers, correctional officers, and community supervision officers to $50,000 a year and providing state grants to local agencies to support pay raises for local police officers.
If Kemp is reelected, he said he will ask the General Assembly to pass legislation increasing the penalty for recruiting minors into street gangs from a minimum of five years in prison to at least 10 years behind bars.
Kemp’s second-term platform also calls for prohibiting no-cash bail for criminal suspects with a proven history of bail jumping or failing to appear in court.
Abrams has pledged to eliminate cash bail for poor defendants charged with low-level offenses.
Kemp also said he would support aiding Georgians who want to become law enforcement officers. Specifically, he would propose legislation providing reimbursable loans to pay direct and indirect costs of higher education for those who enter the law enforcement workforce.
The governor also would create a new loan reimbursement program for Georgians interested in becoming medical examiners, a profession currently suffering a workforce shortage.
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.