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Stimulus to Benefit Local Law Enforcement

The Atlanta, Fulton County, DeKalb County, and other Georgia police departments will be able to hire more officers thanks to the release Tuesday of millions in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

Georgia will be able to hire 184 law enforcement officers with $31 million, which will cover 100 percent of salary and benefits for these officer for three years. Departments receiving these funds will be required to retain these officers for a fourth year.

The City of Atlanta will use $11.2 million to hire 50 officers. The Fulton County Police Department will use $1.2 million to hire seven officers. The DeKalb County Police Department will use $3.1 million to hire 15 officers.

Candidates running for Atlanta mayor are all calling for public safety improvements with some calling specifically for more officers.

Councilwoman Mary Norwood wants to increase the Atlanta Police Department by 10 percent, which translates to around 165 more officers. State Sen. Kasim Reed, who proposed a referendum earlier this year that would allow voters to raise their own taxes to pay for extra officers and firefighters, wants 750 more officers.

City Council President Lisa Borders wants to retain officers at a higher rate, proposing a housing program that would allow more officers to own homes within the city limits. Attorney Jesse Spikes wants to put Atlanta’s financial house in order to pay for public safety improvements.

The Campaign For Atlanta is sponsoring two open public forums with these candidates on Aug. 15 and 16 at The Carter Center. The four sessions over the two days will focus on Atlanta’s financial issues and competent bureaucracy with public safety tied in as part of that larger discussion.

Grants awarded Tuesday are administered by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) through the federal agency’s COPS Hiring Recovery Program.

In addition to Tuesday’s COPS grants, the DOJ has so far awarded $1.7 billion in Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, $95 million through the Victims of Crime Act Formula Grant Program, $41.5 million for Internet Crimes Against Children initiatives, $127 million in Office on Violence Against Women Recovery Act funds, and $8.6 million for assistance for law enforcement along the Southern Border and in high intensity drug trafficking areas.


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