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Kemp spends $2M from emergency fund for anti-crime efforts

July 29, 2021 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Brian Kemp is spending $2 million from his emergency fund to bolster spending on state efforts to track down fugitives and stop street racing in Atlanta.

Kemp spokesperson Cody Hall said Wednesday that the $2 million will pay for four additional officers specifically assigned to the unit, along with overtime pay for others assigned to stints with the group.

Kemp said Department of Public Safety Col. Chris Wright requested the money. Republican House Speaker David Ralston, who supported a House committee inquiry into crime in the city this summer, said he supported the request.

State lawmakers budgeted $11 million for the emergency fund in the year that began July 1.

The Department of Public Safety on Thursday declined to say how much it has spent on the effort so far, directing The Associated Press to seek the information through a public records request.

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Hall said the number of state officers working on the weekend effort can sometimes reach dozens.

Besides state troopers, the unit includes officers from the Motor Carrier Compliance division, agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, agents from the state Department of Natural Resources, and Atlanta police officers.

Over nearly four months, the unit says it has arrested 416 people, impounded 474 vehicles, tracked down 116 wanted people and confiscated 38 guns.

“They should know this isn’t stopping anytime soon,” Kemp told reporters Thursday. “We are coming after you, next. You should move your street racing to another state.”

Kemp said last week that he wants lawmakers to consider anti-crime proposals when they return for a special session to redraw electoral districts this fall.

Ahead of 2022 state elections, many Republicans are trying to make the case that voters shouldn’t trust Democrats on crime, even though state government has traditionally had a limited role in fighting crime, with most of the responsibility falling to local sheriffs, police departments and district attorneys.